Music Reviews

New Releases Roundup – Maisie Peters, Matt Maltese, Ydegirl, Luke Hemmings, Wings of Desire And Hauskey and Hope Tala

Close up of a needle on a record player
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

As July looks to be a busy month for music, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from Maisie Peters, Matt Maltese, Ydegirl, Luke Hemmings, Wings of Desire and Hauskey and Hope Tala.

Maisie Peters – Psycho (Kiah):

Maisie Peters has unveiled Psycho as the second single from her upcoming debut album, ‘You Signed Up For This’, which is set to be released at the end of August 2021. This track followed Peters’ announcement that she had signed with Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and had written three of the album’s tracks with him – Psycho being one of the three.

The song uses electronic synths mixed with an upbeat drum track to create a catchy pop anthem. Filled with self-assurance, Peters sings about being mistreated in a past relationship and finally being able to move past it to see the reality of the situation.

Commenting on her time working with Sheeran and the process of creating Psycho, Peters said “It’s very educational working with Ed, he’s such a powerhouse artist and he’s so talented. He really does work so quickly and you have to run to keep up but luckily I work so quickly too so I was able to stay afloat.”

Psycho follows the single John Hughes Movie, another confident pop bop that will appear on ‘You Signed Up For This’. Psycho is a more upbeat contribution to the album and showcases Peters’ ability to create memorable and catchy choruses.

four stars

Matt Maltese – Shoe (Kiah):

Alongside the announcement of his third album, ‘Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow’, Matt Maltese has released the album’s second single – Shoe. The new album is produced by Tom Carmichael who Maltese has previously worked with on his single As the World Caves In.

”It made the past feel even further away which is why I think the album is so hopeful”

A soft, melancholic song, Shoe mixes both sincerity and humour in its expression of love through describing someone as his right shoe. Describing ‘Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow’ as a “real coping record”, Maltese expressed how the pandemic made him “very aware of the small things and the important things. It made the past feel even further away which is why I think the album is so hopeful. It made me realise which relationships and connections are real and a true source of joy”.

The lyrics of Shoe offer an idealistic view of life in a comedic way, having a more positive outlook than previous single Mystery. Maltese has become known for his lyrics that often romanticise life; a key example of this is his breakthrough single As the World Caves In. The soft acoustics of Shoe paired with Maltese’s harmonising vocals create a playful love song which contrast the darker themes of Maltese’s past releases.

three and a half stars

Ydegirl – Zodiac (Gemma):

Copenhagen-based musician Andrea Novel, better known as Ydegirl, has released her latest single Zodiac. It follows her previous single breezing back and forth between, which was released back in May. The new track is a unique and genre-bending mixture of pop, R&B, and strings.

She blends classical instruments such as clarinet, guitar and violin with a modern R&B pop sound, characterised by synths and electronic drum beats. The instrumental is often sparse, with brief moments of silence. This ensures that it does not overpower Ydegirl’s compelling and captivating voice, which is the main focus of the track.

Zodiac tackles lyrical topics of dualism, coming to terms with emotions, and settling into the embrace of being “A woman, not a mono-thought”. This is communicated through lyrics such as “Often I’m full of joy but I feel like crying” and “Often I’m blue and I’m smiling”, which explore the dichotomy of emotions that are experienced simultaneously throughout life.

four stars

Luke Hemmings – Starting Line (Gemma):

Following his 5 Seconds Of Summer bandmate Ashton Irwin’s solo album ‘Superbloom’ last year, Luke Hemmings has released his first solo single Starting Line. The song is a pop-rock ballad, which will appear on his solo debut album ‘When Facing the Things We Turn Away From’. The album will be released on 13th August.

Much like Irwin, Hemmings described his album as “a project that grew out of a year of enforced stillness”. However, both bandmates have emphasised that their solo careers do not mean that 5SOS is coming to an end. Instead, they will balance their solo careers alongside their commitment to the band.

Hemmings has not felt entirely present during this time

The song discusses the feelings of numbness that Hemmings has experienced since 5SOS rose to fame in the early 2010s. Hemmings has not felt entirely present during this time (“I wake up every morning with the years ticking by”) due to the fast-paced nature of the lifestyle he has been living.

Starting Line discusses “missing various memories,” Hemmings explains himself. “You’re reflecting on your youth and all of the madness and craziness. It’s like you’re forgetting so many pieces of your life—not from vices or anything—but from the sheer volume. I had to figure out how to fill a lot of gaps for myself in a positive way. It’s the human condition to change everything up after so long.”

four stars

Wings of Desire – Choose a Life (Gemma):

Wings of Desire have released Choose A Life alongside the announcement that they will be releasing their EP ‘Amun-Ra’ on 13th August. Their previous single Better Late Than Never will also appear on the EP, along with the two unreleased tracks OUTTAMAMIND and Forgive & Forget.

Lyrically, the song explores the ways that society expects us to live our lives. It encourages the listener to ignore these expectations. Instead, you should choose your own path. This is communicated through the chanted chorus “Choose your life / Get a job / Find a wife / F**k it all”.

Choose A Life is about our automated programming which convinced us that once we get ‘there’ we will be happy. That once we’ve acquired the material check list we will be fulfilled, but this is never the case,” the duo explains. “The song explores finding joy in the smaller moments of the everyday, the mundane, those micro expressions that we take for granted. And realising that you don’t have to bend the world to make your mark. That it’s better to just enjoy it.” This positive message is reflected in the feel-good, hazy, dream-pop instrumental of the track.

four stars

Hauskey and Hope Tala – One Minute (Gemma):

Hauskey and Hope Tala collaborate on their new single One Minute. The track merges Hauskey’s chill synths with Hope Tala’s RnB melodies, to create a song which perfectly captures the feel of the summer. It is a radio-friendly tune, destined to be heard during a road-trip with friends.

the song is about “fake, fair-weather friends”

Hauskey explains that the song is about “fake, fair-weather friends. Seems to be plenty, especially in the music industry. Being from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, I don’t handle b******t all that well, and can’t stand people who aren’t genuine.”

Hope Tala added “I think it can be really powerful when songs are upbeat and sound fun and light-hearted, but have profound lyrical meaning. Hauskey is a great writer, and it was really cool to be able to collaborate with such a talent.”

three and a half stars

Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke

Featured image courtesy of Nina via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @maisiehpeters @ydegirl and @wingsofdesir3 via No changes were made to these images.

To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.

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