Review: Pretty Matty’s self-titled debut is packed with crunchy power pop morsels

The Toronto-based project of Mathew Morand prioritizes sharp hooks and loud, distorted guitars above everything – joyous sunshine rock that sounds straight out of 1994

Rating: NNNN

Montreal-bred musician Mathew Morand has spent the last couple of years bouncing around between projects, playing with long-running, New York post-hardcore act Self Defense Family, as well as Windsor indie rockers Lychi. Now situated in Toronto, he’s found his stride under the name Pretty Matty.

Describing his sound as “soft pink punk,” Pretty Matty (which as a live unit includes PONY’s Sam Bielanski) cites the Breeders, early Green Day, Paramore and Tony Molina as influences. He prioritizes sharp hooks and loud, distorted guitars above everything. 

Squeaking out a four-song cassette of buzz-sawn, three-chord lo-fi last year, his self-titled debut album softens that EP’s rougher, Gob-like edges, fizzing unadulterated, hook-filled power pop like it was on the DGC Records roster in 1994.

Recorded and mixed by local musician and producer Josh Korody (Beliefs, the Dirty Nil, Weaves), Morand instills plenty of self-doubt and insecurity into his lyrics, regularly calling out friends for their bullshit, but he has a natural gift of disguising these concerns in joyous sunshine rock. 

Morand could very well have sold the 71-second-long Kicked Out to the SoCal punk band Joyce Manor, seeing as it exudes the same emo feels. And I’m Fine and Vacay are so loud, harmonic and slickly produced that they sound like he somehow piggy-backed off Guided By Voices’s sessions with the late Ric Ocasek. 

Morand has called Pretty Matty an “experiment in writing music that makes me feel good,” and as a listener it’s hard not to get in on his fun. Coming in at around 25 minutes, Pretty Matty offers bite-sized, crunchy power pop morsels that are quite easy to consume a second time around. 

Alongside albums by Young Guv, Chastity and Taylor Knox, Pretty Matty adds to a pretty stellar year for the GTA’s rock scene. 

Top track: Golden Retriever

Pretty Matty play an album release show this Saturday (September 21) at Owls Club (see listing) and as part of an all-ages show September 28 at the Beguiling Books & Art (see Facebook).

@nowtoronto | @yasdnilmac

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