On The Rocks, the debut album from Louis Mattr, keeps the ball rolling from his previous synth pop hit “Superman” and those sick SG Lewis and Chase & Status collaborations.
Louis comes from sunny Brighton; he first saw fame from his collaborations becoming underground hits on soundcloud (still happens apparently). Since the success of his EP Slow Waves, many of us have been holding out for more of his R&B with a twist. He toured his EP with his fellow Brighton-nite Ellie Ingram, they even collaborate on a track here.
The first single off On The Rocks was released almost a year ago, now at the end of 2017, we finally have full album from Mattrs, who proves it was worth the wait. The record shifts from some very groovy stuff to deeper tracks that are new to the smooth pop we’re used to.
“Pink Lemonade“, the opening track, is sweet and groovy, one of the lighter songs on the album, a strong start. Imagine it featuring on playlists along with the likes of “Fake Magic” by Alunageorge or “Fool To Love” by NAO. Moving on, the track “Bow Down“, is the popular hit off On The Rocks. Similar to past hit “Superman”, it’s about a lover you look at in amazement, and it has also surpassed his first hit “Superman” in terms of streams.
“Bow Down” has also received quite a bit of attention thanks to Mahogany Sessions. Mahogany is a music platform bringing new independent artists exposure mainly through videos. The blog started focusing on videos in 2013, since then, Spotify has picked up the blog and supported their sessions along the way.
The videos are shot in a way that goes beyond being your usual acoustic cover; recorded beautifully, shot intimately in ordinary places such as empty shops or back rooms in establishments. Louis performs “Bow Down” in a warehouse with only a piano. Its very stirring and gives the pop song a new layer.
Whilst the numbers are with “Bow Down”, I feel some of the faster tracks on this record are worth equal attention. “Killer“, the second single released from On The Rocks, is a song Louis wrote years ago, about comparing those we fall in love with killers. The song’s simple chorus and drum beats work well with the lyrics. The video for the single is a treat as well, using drone cameras in the countryside, Louis mentions in an interview, that farmers were threatening to shoot the drones.
Half way through On The Rocks is when it starts to get real good, “Don’t Like Dancing” sounds like an old Pharrell Williams hit, which I found out later, was Louis’ intention all along. The lyrics are playful and the bopping bass would make 90s fans happy.
“Drive By“, another groove showcases some smooth guitar hooks, and reminds me of experimental artist Fyfe. There is a different kind of groove on “The Team“, which Louis says is meant to be the club hit. He really plays with personality here, 808 bass and a beat drop, his inflections and lyrics here defiantly bring dancing and grinding to mind.
Mattrs looks like a pretty standard blond British lad, at odds with his colourful production, he’s seen in mostly neutral colours and hardly any bright street wear. At odds with the cockiness of some of the songs, Louis has said before, the music has helped a bit with the ladies. This album will only prove that point I think, we can see inspiration taken from the sort of confidence Miguel and Bruno Mars have when it comes to come hither bops whilst sounding a bit Nick Murphy or Jorja Smith.
Louis is good at the more upbeat beats. They lend themselves better to Louis production than the slower tracks. Favourites include; “Don’t Like Dancing”, “Take You There”, “Bring It” and “Pink Lemonade”. This kid has a future in Tropicana summer songs, despite coming from rainy UK. It’ll be exciting to see where he goes from here, hopefully a tour and maybe some rap collaborations.
Louis Mattr On The Rocks is out now via The Full Hundred, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Melissa Davis