Album Review: Matt Maltese // Driving Just To Drive

TikTok’s favourite sadboy Matt Maltese returns with a glorious, piano funk laden album.

Since his debut single ‘Even If It’s a Lie’, back in 2015, Reading-born Matt Maltese has gathered quite the following for his introspective, often comedic, songwriting; something he builds on throughout his fourth album, Driving Just to Drive. Over the course of the 11-track LP, Maltese invites the listener to experience the good and the bad of everyday life, as grand instrumentals blend seamlessly with the rich vocals throughout.

Released towards the end of 2022, opening single ‘Mother’ is punctuated by pensive piano chords and soaring, sentimental vocals. Thankfully, the track is not a sickly sweet ode to the parental figure, but instead the loss of a relationship from the perspective of the 25-year-old’s mum (“And if there is another / Maybe you’ll love them in the same way you loved her”).

The tempo steps up with the next two tracks ‘Irony Would Have It’ and ‘Florence’, both of which are bursting with enticing instrumentals and serve as a reminder that there is much more to the indie-pop songsmith than the weighty ballads he has established his career on.

There are multiple layers to the album, as Maltese drifts from the effective (‘Widows’) to the sincere eponymous track (‘Driving Just To Drive’). It is at once an album about the past, with songs like ‘Museum’ and concluding track ‘But Leaving Is’, and moving forward.

While the previous singles shine, the album’s standout track is the jazz-soaked Biig Piig collaboration, ‘Coward’. The song starts off slowly but gradually builds into a rich merging of vocals and twinkling euphoric instrumentals.

There’s no sense of making an album just for the sake on making an album with this one. Much of Driving Just To Drive follows Maltese’s tried and tested approach to making music, once again showcasing not only a dedication to his craft but a love for it as well.

photo credit: Reed Schick

Author avatar
Jen Rose

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