Mawzy's 'Long View' Is a Hopeful Look Ahead

BY Kyle MullinPublished Apr 10, 2024


Far-fetched as they may seem during our lowest moments, Mawzy sings about better tomorrows like they're a dream come true on his heartfelt and carefully crafted new LP Long View.

"I know you'll be just fine, swimming against the tide" the Newfoundland singer-songwriter (otherwise known as Matt Cooke) sings on opening track "Forever Wild" over equally yearning key riffs. It sounds as if he's not just comforting a troubled loved one, but willing a solution into existence for them. Same goes for the aptly titled "Better Man." Its gradually chiming keys and syrupy, bubbling bass back up Cooke's lyrics about pledging to be more worthy of an old flame, even as the percussion steadily snaps like a clock, marking his dwindling time to make good.

Cooke explores other feelings that compel one to turn over a new leaf on "All the Things We Didn't Say." The music further conveys that sentiment, especially a backdrop of brighter-than-neon keys and — all the more compelling — a hopscotching baseline worthy of an R&B song. Cooke often throws such wrenches in what would otherwise be straight ahead vintage psych-pop rock homages; Even as the jabbing, dramatically low-toned guitar riff on "Over You" quickly appeals to the War on Drugs listeners Cooke seems to be courting, he also makes sure to open the song with singing so sparse it sounds as if his studio was vacuum sealed, all the better to distinctively convey the song's theme of gasping toward redemption.

Closing track "Regrets & Wonders," meanwhile, has intermittent crackling percussion that sounds like a tightening ratchet, spicing up an otherwise minimalist and haunting song that — along with Cooke's earnest and high register vocals — will remind listeners of an Andy Shauf deep cut in the best possible way. His taste in producers is as razor sharp as his songwriting, with Thom D'Arcy behind the boards helps Cooke make the most dynamic music of his career. Compared to the lo-fi bedroom pop of earlier singles like "Escapism" and "Same Room," Long View sounds high fidelity enough to be cranked from the AM radio of the vintage car on the LPs' cover. The whispered vocals on the title track and the percussion on "Start Again," in particular, are sturdy '70s homages (the latter is also a duet with breezy-voiced Toronto singer-songwriter Kirty, a member of Fast Romantics who made her solo debut in 2021 with We Are All on Fire).

His influences are apparent, as is his penchant for unabashed earnestness and striving sentimentality. Despite "Real Love" — which stoops to saccharine cliches about "crimson and clover" — Cooke has the honed chops, precisely timed idiosyncrasies and clearly conveyed emotional honesty to successfully sell us on his hopeful, open-hearted vision. Long View renews your faith in the sunny road ahead. 


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