EP Review: Matilda Mann – ‘Because I Wanted You to Know’

Matilda Mann’s new EP ‘Because I Wanted You to Know’ is a collection of songs about the dizzying sensation of being young. Crafting ingenious lyrics from moments of mundanity, Matilda puts out five songs that blend diaristic song-writing with magical hyperbole.

The first track, ‘Happy Anniversary Stranger’, takes place on a public bus (specifically, the number 266 to Hammersmith). It’s this detail-laden writing that cements Matilda’s artistic voice. In demonstrating the breadth of her imagination, she captures the familiar experience of falling for a stranger. It’s undeniably whimsical, floating between comments on the stranger’s habits and haircuts, and inevitably landing on the daunting feeling of realising you really, truly care about someone.

The EP is a manual for navigating the terrifying peaks and troughs of youth. Speaking of the EP, Matilda says that the songs “have a message I wish someone had said to me when I was younger. That it’s okay to feel vulnerable, that we can all be naive at times, heartbreak sucks, that some things just aren’t meant to be, and the world’s system sucks.”

Sonically, the songs utilise stripped-back production consisting of acoustic strings and light percussion, revealing Matilda’s soft-spoken and tender vocal performance. In the same vein as artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Holly Humberstone, Matilda’s music can at first sound airy, buoyant, and nonchalant – but nestled within this sound are sucker-punch lyrics that speak to the disorienting experience of being a teenager in the 21 st century.

Drawing lyrical inspiration from the well of ordinary human experience, Matilda’s songs are understated, yet drenched in emotion. On single ‘Japan’, she sings about the subtle heartache of a break-up, writing “Thank God I packed my common sense”, setting off to Japan just to cry. The 20-year-old Londoner locates poetry and romance in the ordinary world around her, writing songs “inspired by notes taken from conversations with friends, or those overheard during tube rides, and whilst working in a pub”. The profound normalcy of Matilda’s songcraft is at the heart of her magic. Life is boring, messy, and strange, yet can be so incomprehensibly beautiful.

Championed by the likes of BBC Introducing, COLORS, and Mahogany, Matilda Mann certainly has a dazzling future on her horizon. Her story-like song-writing exhibits a quiet sense of wisdom, well beyond her years. Something tells me we’ll be intently hanging on Matilda’s every word for a while longer.

Michael Anderson

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