On his second album, Matt Martians – aka The Internet keyboardist Matthew Martin – allows for a bit of respite. There’s no sense of immediacy over these eight tracks; soaked in sun-drenched plinky pianos and slippery bass lines, it’s evocative of summer BBQs, beach-side afternoons and long weekends. The central premise of the album may be a failed relationship, but it’s the happiness that shines through.
Created over two weeks, ‘The Last Party’ opens with the line, “You don’t have a clue what love is”. It’s unclear whether the Atlanta musician is talking to himself or a former romantic partner, though it certainly sets the theme for the tracks that follow: he explores heartache, break-ups, love and letting your past go.
On ‘The Last Party’, Martians allows his vocals to be enveloped by funky, one-riff bass lines and smooth sax solos. The bass and piano are predominant, while other instrumentation slinks in and out beneath the hazy mist.
As on his debut album, ‘The Drum Chord Theory’, Martians keeps his verses short and his choruses even shorter. Fluttering softly among the sounds, Martians slips easily between singing and rap-singing. Stand-out tracks such as ‘Look Like’ and ‘Pony Fly’ are guaranteed head-boppers. The album is elevated by production from Omar Apollo and Mac de Marco, along with assured features from singer-songwriters Daisy and Baby Rose and fellow Internet member Steve Lacy.
It elicits the feeling of packing away your winter clothes, of spring cleaning and turning over a new leaf, of preparing yourself for the warm months ahead. It evokes a sense of hope in the near-future, of heading off somewhere indistinct. But beyond that initial mood, the album lacks sustained impact. ‘Southern Isolation’ and ‘Movin On’, for instance, feel too similar to his previous work.
Though Martians does avoid the tropes of a sermon or sappy, heartbreak songs and plays to his strengths, it never truly hits home. This is an accomplished album, but after the success of The Internet and the stellar ‘Drum Chord Theory’, you might have hoped Martians would push himself further on ‘The Last Party’.