Matilda Mann dives into the beautiful depths of her sweetly soothing fourth EP ‘You Look Like You Can’t Swim,’ a tender, intimate, and achingly vulnerable record of cathartic connection and tender reflection.
“You Look Like You Can’t Swim” – Matilda Mann
I used to be the fish that lives inside a tank. These days I seem to be a morsel made of sand…
There’s a soothing warmth radiating throughout Matilda Mann’s latest record.
It’s the soft touch, tender and triumphant, of an artist in tune with herself – perhaps for the very first time. Gentle guitars and soul-stirring vocals coalesce with a dazzling array of instruments to create a world of wonder – one in which Mann tells stories big and small, all near to her heart and plunging into the depths of her singular human experience. Stunningly intimate and achingly vulnerable, You Look Like You Can’t Swim is a brutally honest, raw record of cathartic connection, reflection, and reckoning. Inner peace may still be a ways away, but Matilda Mann has found her own calm and comforting reverie.
I used to be the fish that lives inside a tank.
These days I seem to be a morsel made of sand.
And I’m just sick of being honest,
when honestly I never understand.
It seems an awful waste to give me so much space.
I never seem to know exactly what’s my pace.
And I’m just sick of being honest,
when honestly I’m just a hopeless case.
Dress me up
Tell me how to think
I don’t wanna get it wrong
I’ve been a fish too long
Who can’t swim
Released July 14, 2023 via Arista Records, You Look Like You Can’t Swim is a breathtaking tempest that, at under fourteen minutes in length, is come and gone far too soon.
The fourth EP from London’s Matilda Mann – one of Atwood Magazine‘s artists to watch – highlights the young singer/songwriter’s rapid growth over the past three years since her debut. Sporting enchanting string arrangements and unapologetically honest songwriting, these five newest songs find her at her most relaxed: Mann wears her heart on her sleeve much like she’s always done, exploring the deepest parts of her soul and candidly pouring herself out in the process.
This EP is set to be Mann’s last shorter release before the major label-signed artist begins teasing out her highly anticipated debut album. “I think with my album coming up, I wanted to release a body of work that was less experimental and busy,” Mann tells Atwood Magazine. “I love releasing music frequently and I like not being tied down to one genre, but I think at my core, I love to make folk music the most and string arrangements. They show me at my most vulnerable and I feel I connect with people better.
“I think I was doing a lot of growing up in [my latest EP] Sonder and my other EPs,” she adds. “And while I’m still growing up, I think this EP reflects me at my most calm and stationary mindset I’ve been in for a while. I think I’ve improved a lot more as an artist and having things like string arrangements and directing a music video for the EP ticks off really big boxes that I always wanted to accomplish in my career.”
Mann describes her new record, lush with gorgeous melodies and captivating instrumental performances that surround and support her hushed, emotive voice, as “romance, lights, and cinema.” The EP’s title, You Look Like You Can’t Swim, is a gut-wrenching for her as it is tongue-in-cheek.
“In all honesty, I discovered the saying “you look like you can’t swim” as a joke, you would say to someone as a slight insult. I think it’s kind of just a metaphor for saying you look like you’re not capable of doing something and I think that’s how I view myself in a lot of situations.”
From its serene opener “The Day That I Met You” to the titular final track, You Look Like You Can’t Swim proves a wondrous escape as well as an intimate indulgence. Highlights – if you can really pick highlights on such a tight, short set – include the moving, heartbreak-fueled “If Only,” the powerfully poetic, inward-looking “You Look Like You Can’t Swim,” and the EP’s love-soaked anthem, “In Plain Sight” – a hushed and heartfelt wash of sweetly stunning indie folk that’s at once warm and utterly wondrous. Mann sings alongside atmospheric acoustic guitars, her voice a soul-stirring whisper full of raw, unfiltered passion. It’s a moment of dreamy, delicate bliss, dwelling in the euphoria of love and how truly magical and special it really is – and Mann is the dreamweaver, carefully crafting a wondrous soul-stirring experience for all:
I got off a stop too early
Just to talk about your morning
How exactly did you sleep last night?
Some would say that it’s obsessive
But I think it’s damn impressive
That I found you hidden in plain sight
Are everywhere I go since you came round
Hold me now
Before I lose all feeling of the ground
I was yours from the beginning
Now my world is only spinning for you now
For Mann, it’s the arrangements that ultimately make this EP what it is. “Getting strings put onto “the day that I met you” was the first song I ever heard a string arrangement on my music,” she says. “I think it’s opened up a whole new way of writing and producing for me and it’s given me a new wave of excitement when it comes to finishing music.”
She cites lyrics from the the bridge section in “if only“ as some of her favorites that she’s ever written: “And it’s starting again, and it’s strange I don’t know, why you would stay if you knew you would go”
Whether you’re looking for solace, in need of your own cathartic release, or just in need of you next favorite singer/songwriter, Matilda Mann is a voice on the rise – and for good reason.
Her music aches with the kind of invisible intensity you have to hear and feel in order to understand. She gives every performance her all, spilling thoughts and feelings into visceral music that moves in time with our own beating hearts.
“I guess I hope people can feel comfort, in just feeling things,” Mann shares. “Sometimes I get really scared and overwhelmed by even the idea of feeling something and I have a habit of overthinking. I used to get really embarrassed about being emotional and I would try so hard to hide that side of myself. But that doesn’t do anyone any good and I think it stops you from moving forward. So, I think I would just like people to feel whatever they need to feel.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Matilda Mann’s You Look Like You Can’t Swim with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her fourth EP!
‘You Look Like You Can’t Swim’ – Matilda Mann
:: Inside You Look Like You Can’t Swim ::
The Day That I Met You
“The world can suck. And some days it feels more like a constant than temporary. But then you meet someone, and the hand life dealt you, suddenly doesn’t feel so bad.”
In Plain Sight
“I think it’s crazy, out of all the people in the world, you manage to find someone so perfect for you, hidden in plain sight. We wrote this song on the hottest day of the year, and all started to go a little crazy. I think it was the perfect time to make a sweet little love song that we could spend the summer nights dancing around to.”
“I think whenever I’m overwhelmed or stressed, the best thing for me has always been, having some time alone. Sometimes you can feel yourself slipping away from someone, and you’re not quite sure why, until you figure out that it’s because you’re best apart.
I guess ‘Margaux’ is from the perspective of who you’re leaving. How they saw you fall away. How the subtle things started to change. And how life is how without them.”
“When you’re in a relationship, it’s hard to see every perspective, every way it could go, what you should change. So afterwards, there’s always a lot of reflecting and sometimes you wonder how you didn’t see it. How they never wanted to stay the way you did.”
You Look Like You Can’t Swim
“Sometimes you’re your own worst enemy and you can get too much in your head about things. I tend to panic I’m getting things wrong. I haven’t done something well enough; I’m not staying in touch with people, I should be doing more. And I just want someone to tell me what to do, so I don’t mess it up.”
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© Caity Krone
:: Stream Matilda Mann ::