Way back in 2014, Kalle Mattson released his remarkable and intensely personal record Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, which earned widespread critical acclaim and a spot on the Polaris Music Prize long list. Avalanche, his new six-song EP, picks up where he left off.
The Sault St. Marie-born, Ottawa-based singer mines some of the same autobiographical territory as on his previous outing, in which he dealt with the death of his mother, but this time around approaches the material from a more mature stage in the journey. He longs now for less impossible things; his missteps are learning opportunities; he’s moving forward.
What’s remarkable here is how much Mattson accomplishes in just six tracks. The record combines an orchestral rollercoaster (“Avalanche”) and catchy pop, replete with ’80s synth and drum machines (“Lost Love,” “New Romantics”) and more restrained arrangements (“A Long Time Ago”). Elsewhere, he waxes gorgeous and mellow (“Left Behind,” “Baby Blue”).
It’s hard to imagine he could achieve more with extra time and twice as many songs. Whether solemn or in overdrive, Mattson’s gentle voice never lacks for emotive energy, while his songwriting always implies that he knows more than he lets on. Add Kalle Mattson to the long list of great Canadian songwriters; Avalanche is a stunner.
(Home Music Co.)