Matt Carstens embodies an alternative pop ego with the kind of smoothly-styled intuitive pizzazz that comes along only every so often.
The 21-year-old singer-songwriter, who was born and bred in Gordon’s Bay, first emerged on the scene in 2016 amid a flurry of well-timed slots at Up the Creek and Innibos.
After churning out his debut album 2D Heart in 2017, he was crowned the winner of #VanCokeCollab which saw him pair up with local legend Francois Van Coke for “Broken Society” – a bitingly catchy electro-esque number, swathed in dreamy pop hooks and bass choruses.
Organic acoustics double up with a rhythm-rooted sound. His is the sort of indie-pop which tallies up alongside the likes of Ed Sheeran pop-hook balladry. “You Do You” and “Somebody Else” are shoulder-deep in this vaguely electronic tendency which has become synonymous to his brand. The latter is a staggeringly authentic exploration on toxic relationships. He’s as quick to blame himself as he is to blame his ex – “You gave me your heart and all I gave you back was some sweet infidelity.”
“High” is his latest and easily his best. This guy might be young but he certainly knows how to spin a tune and there’s marked maturity in his sound this time around. Percussive and stripped down, his liquid vocals take to the fore, sliding through polished production.
Give Carstens a moment and he’ll be joining the ranks of the South African pop-slant greats in no time.