One half of the acclaimed Irish breakout duo Tebi Rex, Matt Ó is no stranger to success. Now taking his first dive into a full solo release, the hip-hop-come-RnB artist has today released the 7 track stunner MESSER – a brilliant representation of Ó’s soulful soundscapes and ability to move flawlessly between moments of witty humour to baring all on more heartfelt, melancholic tracks.
Setting the tone with the sultry, vibing piano on ‘INTRODUCING’, Matt Ó enters with his effortless, unaffected flow, delivering honest and heartfelt lyricism as the track builds with subtle, swaying beats and rumbling bass. Warming, rich and understated, it’s hard not to already feel like you’re in state of trance while your head gently bops along.
Track 2, ‘DAY TO DAY’ quickly brings a more electronic, R&B vibe as Matt first touches on the wittier side of his lyricism, delivered in his unique gentle, silky vocal tone over a wash of airy synths and swinging beats. The second the verse see’s Matt move to his impeccable flow as soulful guest vocals courtesy of J Smith dance above him.
A previous single and track 3 on the EP, ‘SONNY’ continues this swaying R&B vibe, leaning further into the pop side of Ó’s repertoire with deceptively catchy vocal lines which stay with you well after the first listen. For me the stand out track of the release, ‘SONNY’ manages to capture the mega chilled mood prevalent across the EP with gently shuffling beats, processed guitars and thick sub bass whilst also retaining a biting, pointed undertone to the vocals, despite the delicate delivery. Also featuring Ahmed Ahmed in the latter stages, the track is given another dimension continuing the easy going vibes but with a fresh lead to pull the track forward over the lazy beat.
‘SOMETHING NEW’ see’s Matt fully embrace the witty, sarcastic and at times genuinely laugh out loud lyricism that he’s capable of, a contrast to the mood of what’s come prior on MESSER. Put in his own words:
It’s fun, silly, energetic, and importantly it’s meant to put a smile on the listeners’ faces, whilst still demonstrating who I am, and what this EP is about. This track embodies the lighter part of the EP, a huge part of being a “messer” I guess. It’s meant to be unserious, and just a laugh. Especially at Justin Timberlake’s expense. How’d ya like that JT? HUH? IT’S GONNA BE MAAAAY”
I don’t think I can put it better than that. ‘SOMETHING NEW’ is just a hell of a lot of fun and acts as a break from the sultry tone of the first three, offering a tongue-in-cheek moment to break up the downtempo tone of what’s come before.
Elsewhere on the EP ‘SOMETHING SOFT’ is a heartfelt, warming number. Deep bass, dappled guitar lines and swaying suns under Matt’s delicate, honest lyricism as he talks through the development of a relationship, romance and having kids. As a new dad myself this does resonate somewhat, it’s not often you hear music this honest and pointed, it’s like a love letter, Matt pours his heart and doesn’t care what people think, it is actually quite beatiful and demonstrates the full range of emotion Ó covers on these 7 tracks: from biting sentiment about achievement and success, to tongue-in-cheek humour, to truly heart-felt, warming romantic notions, it’s a full journey through what he’s feeling.
‘SUNRISE SUNSET’, closes the EP, an unexpected, delicate, best described as alt-pop piano ballad. Totally unexpected but beautiful and a fitting close none the less.
A warming, at times emotional and at others humorous and witty collection of tracks, MESSER is to be admired both for the range of artistry on display and rich soundscapes but also for MATT Ó’s freedom to do what he wants at any given time – from singing ballads to rapping out tight bars. The EP covers a lot of ground across 7 tracks, showcasing the full range of Matt’s ability as a songwriter in an unapologetic yet always joyous and uplifting manner. It’s a brilliant selection of tracks from an artist clearly brimming with music ideas.