At an early age, music became an essential element in the world of Matt Warren. He learned the craft by performing, learning from heroes and studying contemporary music composition at University. But, he wanted to walk his own path when creating his own work. This was clear to hear from his debut single, “Witchcraft”, a track that showcased his captivating storytelling qualities, along with a mesmerising soundtrack. These traits became the foundations of his debut album Because We All Want To Escape. With this collection of songs, Warren showed he had more to offer. He delivered an ever-changing musical landscape, keeping the listener on their toes. For example, “Butterfly” has a punk-like attitude, while “Hang Your Head” floats along in a spaced-out manner. But, no matter the song, his impressive way with words always stood out.
His roads led to collaboration with other projects, including Four Noble Truths and The Perics (both are worth checking out). He continued to hone his skills and continued to push himself creatively. Then, earlier in the year, he released his follow-up album, Waited a Little Too Long. With it, it saw an evolution of the music he created. It offers more of an alt-rock soundtrack, with elements of pop-punk and softer, ballad-like songs. Again, his lyrics have a lot to say. Like his music, it changes to fit his stories. Some offer thought-provoking lyrics like “Perils of Youth”, while others bring sing-along pop goodness like “Naive Nancy”. But, it all comes together to see Warren create another captivating collection of songs Warren with artistic freedom.
While waiting for a single to be mastered (from Waited a Little Too Long), inspiration hit. Warren began working on new songs. After three weeks, his concept album, Excited to Die, came to life. He says, “I wrote this album without wondering if other people would ‘approve’ or ‘like it’ – it started as being something for me that I liked – and, luckily, it ended that way too”. Even the album’s track listings are in the order created. It helps to add more of an authentic feel to it all, just like its lyrics. Let’s press play and hear what Excited to Die has to offer.
Like all of his albums prior, there is an artistic freedom to this group of songs. A quality that stands him out from the crowd, in a good way. As Excited to Die was created and assembled in a short amount of time, there is a raw element to it. It is easy to understand, as assembly and recording were all completed in three weeks. It must have been a scary but exhilarating process. The result is an unpredictable and absorbing collection of audio concept art.
The alt-rock soundtrack moves between a playful and a low-key manner. Warren’s musical talents perfectly reflect the tone to match his words. For example, his fingers dance around his keys to add a playful nature to the opening track “Day Off”. While “Sinking Fast” sees a dark bassline create a moody atmosphere. It helps to make lines such as “I’m so tired today / And my head is f**king wired / I’m getting thoughts I shouldn’t think” more impactful.
About his lyrics, some are open to interpretation while others are clear to hear the message. “Mixed Up” shares feelings within a relationship, while “Sick Again, again” could be about life in general. Each track will offer something different, and some will speak to you more than others. With so much on offer, let’s talk about three songs that stand out the most.
Matt Warren continues to break boundaries to create music the way he wants. His concept album ‘Excited to Die’ is another example of this and his sublime songwriting talents.
“The Flight at the End” offers a track about conspiracy theories. The blend of guitars and electronic elements creates a soundtrack that gets under your skin. Doing so makes you sing along to its hook, “This is the flight at the end, and we’re falling to the ground / This is the flight at the end, and we’re heading down right now”. When the bridge arrives, the mood slows down. It grabs your attention as Warren delivers, “Walk faster. They’re coming for you / Fear the answer. You can’t escape the truth”. Then, it bursts back into life to bring the song to a close.
The title track, “Excited to Die”, sees the return of his playful manner. Instead of fearing death, what if it’s a good thing? His electronic keys set the mood for his story to begin. The verses talk about near misses and planning for the future. Then the hook asks, “But wait. It’s been a difficult ride for most of the time / Even forcing a try never goes off right / I wonder what I’ll find on the other side? / It could be quite a high now I’m excited to die”. It does make you think about it, and this is a credit to the way Warren moulded this song.
With each playthrough, “It All Made Sense” is the one song that continues to stand out the most, thanks to the arrangement of its soundtrack. The kick drum and guitar are hypnotic, with other musical layers added to extra effect. The other part is his soft vocals and storytelling qualities. The gentle delivery of his words grabs and holds the listener’s attention. He does so from the start with the opening lines, “I saw you there / You were such easy picking / For a wondering mind / That was sick of overthinking”.
When the hook arrives, it has a compelling simplicity. It makes you sing along with, “It all made sense to me, right there / But now I’m not so sure I care anymore”. It is the final piece that comes together to create the outstanding moment from the album. But, with so much on offer, a favourite will differ from other listeners. Excited to Die is yet another sublime addition to the roster of music by Matt Warren, who continues to break the musical mould.