Album of the Week: Mallrat’s Butterfly Blue may just be the pop record of 2022

What feels like a million years in the making, Mallrat‘s debut album is here and it’s ready to win over everyone willing to be won over. Coming six years after her debut EP and a plethora of massive singles, Butterfly Blue has been worth the wait for Mallrat fans and music lovers alike.

After slowly and carefully churning out hit after hit (starting with debut single “Suicide Blonde”, through to every foodies dream “Groceries” and probably her biggest song yet, the overwhelmingly cute “Charlie”), Mallrat has arrived in 2022 ready to fully seize and command control of the pop landscape from now until forever. Slowly dropping tracks off Butterfly Blue over the past 2 years, it feels like this has been a calculated and well thought out approach that is going to reap massive benefits (if it hasn’t already).

Mallrat has a distinct sound that anyone who has listened to radio in the past six years would recognise. Often floating vocals, matched with clever pop hooks and at times minimalist beats, her songs branch across genres of country, folk and hip hop. Taking influence from artists like Florence Welch, Azealia Banks (as seen on “Surprise Me”), Imogen Heap and Lana Del Rey, you can hear these artists in each and every one of Butterfly Blue‘s songlist. Despite this distinct sound, the progress from her EPs to her album mimics that of the album’s titular butterfly. Butterfly Blue‘s 12 songs are fully formed in their delivery, all evolving from the plethora of tracks that Mallrat has released on previous efforts.

Sure, some of the songs do sound like they could have been lifted from previous EPs (“Arm’s Length” and “I’m Not My Body, It’s Me” are both gentle near acoustic moments that could have featured realistically on either of her two most recent EPs), but it’s these exact songs that show the depth and strength of Mallrat as a vocalist, songwriter and musician, as well as the leaps and bounds she’s made since bursting out as an artist who was once called the Hannah Montana of rap. Lead single “Rockstar” is peak Mallrat; melodramatic and exhibitionist as she sings about loving and forgetting her rockstar. Following in the same vein, but at the same time completely removed, is the biggest moment “Surprise Me”. With an unreal verse from Azaelia Banks, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Surprise Me” makes a few end of year lists.

The album commences with the less than a minute “Wish On An Eyelash”, a near acapella-esque entry that leads seamlessly into “To You”, a personal favourite of mine and one that is honestly the best representation of what Mallrat has progressed into as an artist. Previous singles “Your Love” (prime for a remix) and “Teeth” (early 2000’s teen drama vibes) hold their own on Butterfly Blue. While not dissimilar to each other, “Your Love” and “Teeth” again allows Mallrat to delve into a variety of sounds, themes and production that won’t scare off fans, while also allowing plenty of borderline listeners to jump firmly on the bandwagon. The stand out moment on Butterfly Blue is “Heart Guitar”. Edgy, earthy and emotional, “Heart Guitar” is a love song that has lost its original reason for love, while maintaining enough of the feels to draw you in each and every time you listen to it.

A couple of months back Mallrat announced Butterfly Blue was going to be the pop album of 2022. While I don’t have a time machine or almanac, if I were a betting man and you wanted to trust me as a bookie, perhaps consider having a listen to Butterfly Blue. There’s every chance you’ll love the album and Mallrat will be proven correct with her prophecy.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Butterfly Blue is out Friday 13 May

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