That bedroom pop entered the mainstream in the past two years isn’t a surprise; young artists now have access to (almost) studio-grade technology on their laptops, streaming services have broadened their influences infinitely, and a confessional bar recorded alone in a bedroom allows for a certain vulnerability.
On Butterfly Blue, Mallrat – Queensland Australia's Grace Kathleen Elizabeth Shaw – has expanded her sound beyond the boundaries of the bedroom while retaining the charm of earlier EPs Uninvited, In the Sky and Driving Music.
Butterfly Blue is a spirited debut, unmoored by a singular genre. Azealia Banks spits the kind of sharp bars we’ve come to expect from the rapper on Surprise Me, a playful take on retrofuturist, synth-laden trap. It’s a slightly jarring moment, coming in on track three, but Shaw pulls us back from the whiplash – just about.
Heart Guitar is more firmly rooted in bedroom pop and is all the better for it. “It’s nothing fancy,” she sings of a relationship that “used to give [her] butterflies”; vulnerable and immediate. Teeth runs a simple progression through fuzzy filters, while I’m Not My Body, It’s Mine unfolds around a gently plucked acoustic guitar and gradually expanding vocal harmonies.
Mallrat’s charm comes best when she blends the simplicity of teenage dreams (“maybe I’ll fall in love with a rockstar, we’ll be married for ever”) with a gentle touch on the console. A charming debut, Butterfly Blue is bedroom pop writ large.