New kid on the block, Matt Carstens, released his debut album 2D Heart in April 2017. From the get-go and throughout the whole album there is a heartwarming and soul-lifting vibe about his acoustic, singer-songwriter style that gives South Africans hope for more amazing local talent on the rise.
Carstens has been writing songs since he was 12 years old, and as the proof is in the pudding, this album showcases music that extends from a strong natural place of expression. Even though there are fit similarities to his end product that echoes the sounds of Ed Shereen and Matthew Mole, his true form comes through in the songwriting.
The album kicks off with Our Revolution, which sounds like the typical song that plays out in the movie scene when a group of friends are driving off into a sunset on a hopeful road trip. This kind of mood transcends throughout the whole album, which is pleasant, but can get monotonous at times. There is a slight need for more structure and storytelling from the album as a whole.
Carstens’ resonant voice and campfire acoustics come through smoothly on songs like Way to You and Scars. With his conscious pacing, Carstens knows when to push it up and slow it down.
The album’s first single, Paper Planes, as well as Pixelated, both start slow but leaves your foot tapping by the chorus. Through songs like this he is able to show his creativity and skills using the loop pedal and to create rich, layered tracks. This truffle effect resonates in later songs such as Bisous.
Overall, this is a great debut effort and my gut feeling is that I would have loved this even more when I was 18. This is a great sign that Carstens is singing about what he knows, and does not try to be someone or something he is not, or not yet, which is essential for any artist in the process of creating.
It’s a feel good, lovey-dovey album, and even though I’m not a personal fan, I have a feeling this kid is going to go far.
Matt Carstens album, 2D Heart, is out now. Listen to the full album on Deezer.