Mattiel: Georgia Gothic (ATO) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, March 30th, 2023  


Georgia Gothic


Mar 28, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Over the course of two albums in the shape of their self-titled debut in 2017 and 2019’s Satis Factory, Mattiel have established themselves as discerning purveyors of an elegant soaring brand of rock n’ soul. On album three, Georgia Gothic, Atina Mattiel Brown and Jonah Swilley reunite to produce another instant classic. However, they approached writing this album in a completely different way. Previously the duo had worked separately with Swilley arranging the music, whilst Brown concentrated on the lyrics and vocals.

This time around, the duo came together as one creative entity, locking themselves away as artists are given to do, in an isolated wood cabin and working in unison to see what they could come up with. The results speak for themselves: Georgia Gothic expands the duo’s musical references beyond the aforementioned rock n’ soul that first brought them to people’s attention. Whilst the swaggering sense of melody and attitude is still apparent, and Brown’s vocals retain that sense of ageless beauty, there’s a new sense of intimacy and experimentation which also sees the duo acknowledging their Georgia roots for the first time. Indeed there’s always been a soulful southern gothic undertone to their oeuvre and the album cover featuring Brown and Swinny resplendent in matching red suits replete with pitchforks is a nod to Grant Woods iconic “American Gothic” painting.

Georgia Gothic opens with previous single “Jeff Goldblum,” a driving indie blues confection inspired by a crush on the saucer-eyed actor and described laughingly by Brown as “the only love song I’ve ever written.”

“On the Run” could have featured on a Quentin Tarantino western soundtrack, indeed it’s so impressively authentic that it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t originally recorded by Johnny Cash. And that’s what Mattiel do so well. They have an innate knack for making music that sounds like a recently unearthed “lost classic.” Elsewhere there’s the soaring euphoria and sweeping majesty of “ Lighthouse,” whilst “Blood in the Yolk” is almost Bacharachian in style. The swaggering “You Can Have it All” flirts with psychedelic pop and gospel without ever overindulging in either and album closer “How It Ends” is delivered with the bluesy insouciance of Alison Mosshart.

Georgia Gothic mixes the light and shade in equal measure and whilst it may wear its influences on its sleeve, the album deviates from an oft-ploughed furrow and takes things to new and interesting places with skill, guile, and heart. If some of their songs have a whiff of the classics, it’s probably because that’s exactly what they are. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 7/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.