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The melodies on Matt Carstens’ debut album are arranged in a way that shows off his strong, rich voice. It opens with single ‘Our Revolution’, a folksy track with uplifting lyrics. It is a track that has the potential to be a fan-favourite, but its slow pace seems to hamper it at times – the verses and bridge match up nicely, whereas the chorus makes an unexpected shift that makes it seem like it belongs to a different track.
‘Way to You’ is a tender love song with honest lyrics and similarly, ‘Scars’ utilises the album’s acoustic themes to set its slow pace, albeit with a chorus that seems as though it were engineered to flaunt Carstens’ sonorous voice.
The album’s first single, ‘Paper Planes,’ employs a memorable chorus and relatable lyrics to make it one of the album’s more upbeat tracks. The track stands out as it shows off both Carstens’ guitar skill and his creativity with his looping station.
‘Pixelated’ features a similar guitar melody to ‘Paper Planes,’ however, it features a drumbeat that seems somewhat out of place and is introduced a little too unexpectedly. The video-game references in the lyrics attempt to add a cutesy element to the track.
‘Loves Like Fire’ offers an intro that is pleasant to listen to, but without its percussive elements, it is indistinct from the intros to the other tracks. It drops into the chorus a little too quickly – this song has the kind of verse you wish would carry on a bit longer before letting a vibrant chorus take over. Tracks like ‘Piece of Mind,’ ‘Arsonist’ and ‘Picture on the Wall’ are almost gratuitous, exploring the same lyrical themes as the rest of the album, becoming maudlin and prosaic.
‘Bisous’ presents some welcome variation, making use of catchy electro elements. However, it treads the same lyrical ground as the rest of the tracks. The album is purportedly about the “…journey Matt took to relocate across the country and all the heartache and joy that comes with that,” but the lyrics do not really reflect this in an overt way. ‘Sinners & Stars’ is a less acoustic offering, it is more raw, authentic and original, breaking away from its generic predecessors.
Overall, the album is a solid debut effort, and Carstens can only go forward from here, establishing his musical identity and honing his skills.
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Listen to “2D Heart” below on Deezer.