Matt Champion
Mika's Laundry


4.4
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
April 3rd, 2024 | 28 replies


Release Date: 03/22/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: this is my confession tape

I'm not gonna waste your time and mine with yet another exhaustive retelling of how BROCKHAMPTON burned bright and faded away (or just burned out) except to note the emergence of Matt Champion's voice right at their ignominious end. As early as their debut ALL-AMERICAN TRASH there were hints of Champion's talents as a bandleader and songwriter, the back half being given over to lovely ambient-tinged ballads prominently featuring his understated singing. It wasn't until TM, six years later, that we'd finally hear him curate a full album, one where ecstatic pop hits and trappy bangers shared space with the likes of "BETTER THINGS" and "GOODBYE", throwbacks to those spacious dreamy moments on ALL-AMERICAN TRASH. Now with the members of BROCKHAMPTON scattering literally and stylistically to the four winds, Champion has embraced his newfound freedom alongside a sky's-the-limit experimentation on Mika's Laundry, a kaleidoscopic debut that firmly suggests who the real creative voice in his old band was. It's a tricky, shapeshifting, not-entirely-consistent outpouring of creativity that could only come from a release after years of being restrained - think All Things Must Pass if George Harrison was a rapper learning how to sing, and McCartney a fickle figurehead who spent all his time scrapping albums and deleting tweets.

Anyway. Who would've thought a passing mention of Dijon on "JOHNNY" would pay off so generously more than seven years later? While Champion showcased his versatility with singing on occasion with his former group, the jump from that to 33 straight minutes of gorgeous, yearning alt-pop on Mika's Laundry is staggering, and certainly owes a lot to the presence of his apparent main influence Dijon on "Aphid". But this album has so many sounds to offer, folks: while it can be too fragmented for its own good - "Dogfish" and "Code Red" frustratingly finish right when it feels like they should be getting going, and "Gbiv"'s lane-switch from trunk-rattling rap to piano-led finale is just too ambitious - the more fleshed-out songs present are simply some of the best pop music this year. There's the gospel-tinged hook on "Aphid", crafted in a lab to circle around your head for days by Champion plus co-writers Dijon and the artist formerly known as bearface; the funk-inflected leanings of "Steel" and "Slug" adding a toe-tapping insistence to proceedings; "Aren't You Excited", the closest thing to chart-friendly pop here, which still sounds like it was run through the audio equivalent of a Zalgo text generator; and even the contemplative, electro-folky "Purify", "Everybody Likes You" and "Project", which wouldn't sound out of place on the last few Bon Iver joints.

The versatility and confidence on display is breathtaking, all the more impressive given Champion never resorts to that laconic, stutterstart flow he used to use constantly, instead pushing his relatively untested voice all around the limits of range and melody like searching for that perfect harmony. The strained high notes on "Green" and "Slug" bring to mind aspects of Moses Sumney and Frank Ocean, two of the most creative recent vocalists in the game, while the folksier songs are clearly indebted to Justin Vernon. Champion even takes time right before album's close for a stab at mass appeal with "Slow Motion", a duet with Blackpink's Jennie. The somewhat pat sentiment about stopping time for lost love is still elevated by the airtight composition, where a perfectly mic'd piano explodes into skittering percussion underneath a great performance by both vocalists, Champion swapping between a terse rap verse and sickly sweet R&B harmonies like it's nothing.

Not only is Mika's Laundry entrancing in the sheer amount of detours it takes just to arrive at a rapturous moment you could blast in the workplace and have your coworkers dancing, it's also thrilling because it kicks down all the doors that BROCKHAMPTON seemingly closed after they chose to focus mainly on rap. Champion could wander down the back alleys and side streets he started mapping from Mika's Laundry for years yet, tuck himself further into the nice pocket of alt-pop entrepeneurs he's found, or say fuck it and turn in summer 2025's best rap album at the drop of a dime. One thing I know is that it's well worth hanging around to find out.



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user ratings (30)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

it was well worth suffering thru The Family for this lol

FowlKrietzsche
April 3rd 2024


1163 Comments


"Champion never resorts to that laconic, stutterstart flow... instead pushing his relatively untested voice"

Oh! Now I'm interested

Slex
April 3rd 2024


16656 Comments


Hell yeah gonna check this

Lasssie
April 3rd 2024


1620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Been enjoying this a lot actually

Dogfish, Arent You Excited, Aphid and Slow Motion are my favs

AlexKzillion
April 3rd 2024


17435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pleasantly surprised at how good this turned out

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 4th 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Steel and Slug have been absolutely rent-free in my head since this came out. insanely catchy stuff

SteakByrnes
April 4th 2024


29988 Comments


Hey it's the new platinum glove third baseman for my San Francisco Giants

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

i have no idea what that means but hell yeah brother

Tw1ster
April 5th 2024


237 Comments


“ Hey it's the new platinum glove third baseman for my San Francisco Giants”


I thought the exact same thing. Dude is ultra talented

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Lovely review - best solo project to come out of the ashes of Brockhampton imo

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

thanks Pump. and yeah most definitely. the bar isn't super high lmao but Dom's new EP is pretty decent

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Closest for me would be Arizona Baby, and in spite of myself I do dig Emmanuel way more than I should. Not checked Dom’s new EP yet but will hop on it soon

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

ah I thought you meant specifically post breakup stuff



have a soft spot for Arizona Baby, it grew on me a lot but American Boyfriend is the only one that front to back holds up like this imo

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah lol probably should’ve worded that better, it defo implied post breakup



Was quite lukewarm on American Boyfriend but definitely need to revisit, not listened since it dropped

AlexKzillion
April 5th 2024


17435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

kevin has like 6-8 amazing songs but i don't think any of his albums have really come together like this

chrisssf
April 5th 2024


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very much agree about a lot of songs needing to be fleshed out more, if done right, could have been a superb album. still a great album nonetheless

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 5th 2024


47730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

I still think Boyfriend is the best thing Kevin's ever been involved with. shame he never developed the shoegaze sound on Runner or the t/t any further



pretty great week to be on a brockhampton kick though, you had this, Dom and goddamn Puppy leaked

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gotta hear this.

Hawks
April 6th 2024


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely getting very heavy Frank Ocean vibes from this. Really good stuff here!

FowlKrietzsche
April 7th 2024


1163 Comments


Oh boy this is a MESS



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