Okay Mann’s debut release is built on traditional songwriting and storytelling; tape hiss and tenderness.
The delicateness and sincerity of Okay Mann‘s homespun folk sound is both disarming and suspicious. The intro to Little Mersey is called “Alt”, a muted, whistled prelude that introduces the eight-song release’s recurrent melodic motif. It’s haunting, humble, and so simply perfect that you’ll be convinced there’s some subliminal messaging at work.
From there, Katlin Mathison spins pitch-perfect yarns inspired by “the city that helped shape him”, captured through a combination of modern recording and analogue tape. “When She’s Not Around” is a gorgeous, frosty lament bolstered by additional guitar work from Joey Landreth; “Eternal Optimist” is an out-of-time modern country-infused classic reminiscent of Spencer Burton’s recent rock-country-folk hybrid recordings.
No matter what other music and musicians Okay Mann may evoke, Little Mersey is very much its own unique microcosm. Recorded in Liverpool and Winnipeg with Norwegian producer Nils Børstrand, Mathison conjures up an immersive, alternate universe on songs like “Mountains”: monochromatic, moody, and full of sense memory. “To me these streets are stick in time,” he sings on the title track, leaving little doubt in the listener’s minds that Mathison is deep in recollections, re-living self-defining moments.
“Mellom” brings back that infectious melody line from “Alt”, making Little Mersey a full-circle reverie of the finest order. Whether or not there’s any subliminal messaging at work, Okay Mann will win listeners over with this arresting debut release, built on traditional songwriting and storytelling; tape hiss and tenderness.