Homegrown, Indie/post whatever, three piece, Noyo Mathis have an album out. And, it’s very good. ‘We Become Who We’ve Always Been’ is released today through their Bandcamp page. The love and care that has gone into it is obvious. As they say “It’s taken five years, three previous EPs and many, many gigs to reach this point”.
‘Morning’ is a beautiful opening track. Edgy sentimentality hums from the sound like the red raw skin surrounding a recent graze. Building layers dissipate through tender breakdowns, creating a feeling of falling in slow motion; it really is gorgeous. As we move into ‘Toothache’ the pace slows down and simplifies but there’s still the bare-boned vulnerability that makes this album so special. There’s an honesty here that reminds me of bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Neutral Milk Hotel, but with a much stronger and more complex musical backdrop, (hints of Circa Survive perhaps), that rather than accompany the vocals, infuses into them, completing the picture in the most vivid colour. They perfectly complement each other and it’s incredibly satisfying to listen to.
‘Doubt’ is gentle, the caress of a young lover, whispering secrets into your ear. “I could never call you out”. ‘Turn’ picks up the pace and the balance of loud and soft, the dripping melodies dipping and diving into the strong and underpinning drums. ‘Please’, a tender ode to lost love. The vocals are consistent, natural and effortless; yet riddled with feeling. ‘Vancouver’, soft and sweet “All the loneliness emptied out of fermented bottles that keep me company”, again this loneliness and emptiness of the heart, before switching back beautifully into ’Forest Fires’, a brooding, swaying frustration. This to and fro between soft sadness and prickly vexation gives a texture to the album that tells its own story. The construction of every element contributes to it as a complete piece of art.
As we draw towards the end, songs like ‘Blue Honey’ seem to symbolise the end of a process of contemplation and the potential to move forward, “But I break free”. ‘False Positives‘ equally crawling away into ‘We Become Who We’ve Always Been’ an ending that quite rightly, involves a sense of cycle. Well, life is a series of cycles after all.
So, soft, sentimental, anxious, aggravation cycle around in the mind of the listener until a conclusion of hope is reached. And with that, we become Noyo Mathis. We feel what they feel; we connect. And isn’t that a fundamental part of good music? That, and the pleasure that comes from listening to it and I must say, there is a wealth of pleasure in listening to this. The pleasure that emanates from this album like light from the sun, like the red raw skin surrounding a recent graze.
As Noyo Mathis say “We hope you enjoy this album as much as we do, and thank you for all your support”. No, thank you for all your hard work. It clearly shows and you should be very proud of what you’ve created.
And they’ve got a gig coming up, so you can catch them live. They’re playing the Edge of the Wedge on the 13th of May. And they’re putting it on themselves to benefit Aurora New Dawn, a local charity supporting survivors of domestic abuse and violence.