Review Summary: I ain't loved my father since I can't remember when.
Mat Cothran hasn't had the easiest life. It's obvious from listening to any music he's written, whether it be his solo efforts, or his group Elvis Depressedly. He writes mellow pop songs about overcoming adversity, struggling with drugs and depression, or just plain disdain for the world. He's said himself, "I’m of the mindset that if you can make some kind of monument out of your struggle you can keep it around like a trophy." Mat makes music because he has something to say, plays music because he has emotions to convey. Everything about his music has purpose, it has intention, it has thoughts from the deepest crevices of his mind.
With Elvis Depressedly's second LP "mickey's dead" Mat and company continue to write the same style of laidback pop songs present on the last two prior EPs, and continuing to abandon the more ambient and experimental sound of the first LP. Although the songs have the same pop sound to them, they feel more matured from prior works, with more varied songwriting and lyrical content. As the title mickey's dead" implies, Mat intended to move away from his earlier work in Elvis Depressedly, as great as it was, and do something more refined and planned out. Though this album lacks the charm that was present on the earlier material due to the songs feeling less raw and spontaneous, Mat makes up for it with more variety and improved songwriting.
The album starts out with the song 'daughter of a cop', beginning with a playful drum beat that gets coupled with guitar and synthesizer, as well as Mat's shaky yet soothing voice. This song through and through is a perfect description of the album, and functions well as an opener. The album follows with the songs 'prison line' and 'my lai', the former of which is a song criticizing the music industry, and the latter of which is a more atmospheric and emotional song, featuring the addition of a cello. "mickey's dead" continues all the way through with Elvis Depressedly's unique brand of dreamy pop, some tracks being stronger than others. The title track is a definite stand-out, being a heartfelt song where Mat sings about his unsure relationships with his mother and father, as well as 'u angel u', being one of the more blunt love songs Mat has written. The album closes with 'road side memorial', which has some of the most morbid lyrics on the album, with Mat singing about being used by people, and not being able to sleep, it serves as a dark and personal ending to the album.
Through the course of "mickey's dead" many different ideas are presented, but through captivating songs and well-written lyrics, the album feels cohesive and stays true to what Elvis Depressedly is all about. It has purpose, it has intention, and it has thoughts that are only present in honest and true art.