Album Review: CMAT // If My Wife New I’d Be Dead

A fun record fraught with honesty, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead showcases CMAT’s development from a private songwriting master class (with none other than Charli XCX) to a name we should all be familiar with.

Irish singer-songwriter CMAT’s debut album, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, arrives after over two years of cleverly teased self-releases. Itself a tongue and cheek title, the album takes listeners on a journey that is spiked with humour but also deeply personal.

Inspired by a story she’d heard on the news about a man who’d planned his own death and told friends he was headed to California, opening track ‘Nashville’ runs with this idea – changing the destination to suit – and proves to be a strong opener to the album. It’s musically entertaining, a country-inspired sound full of hope and expectations which are dashed when the song comes to a halt.

From the twinkly pop sound of previous single ‘I Don’t Really Care For You’, to the melancholy of ‘Lonely’, each track is touched by polished production and well-crafted melodies, with soaring vocals and a mingling of pop and country sensibilities. ‘Geography Teacher’ is CMAT at her best, an emotion-tinged vocal performance, with soft acoustics and a perfect example of how this album is as much about entertaining as it is about laying emotions bare.

With influences from all over, If My Wife New I’d Be Dead is a country record, dashed with forays into other genres – from the infectious lo-fi anthem ‘No More Virgos’ to the melodic pop of ‘Communion’. For all the humour of this record, songwriter Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson’s soaring vocals bleed with honesty, urgency and emotion – it is a showcase of a woman facing life’s challenges head on, whilst not forgetting a sense of humour.

Album closer ‘I’d Want You’ stands apart from the previous tracks, a slower cut threaded with beautiful acoustics and stripped back vocals. It is emotional and contemplative, an outpouring of feelings amongst the fun pop tracks before it – the kind of song that stops you in your tracks and really makes you take notice of the craft behind it.

If My Wife New I’d Be Dead might be a musical outpouring of one woman’s experiences but there is something beautifully relatable about it. This might be her debut, but the clean production and seamless blending of pop and country genres makes it feel like CMAT is far from just getting started…

If My Wife New I’d Be Dead is out Friday via AWAL
photo credit: Sarah Doyle

Author avatar
Jen Rose

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