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Mateo Briscoe’s “Insane”

The guitar purrs with melancholic retrospection. A strum of strings reaches out to comfort the keys, but it’s just not enough. For this somber energy to be satisfied, it’s going to take a voice from someone who can relate to these unspoken emotions through gorgeous, linguistic poeticisms.

Mateo Briscoe’s “Insane” begins in a fog of instrumentation but slowly transforms into a potent ballad as powerful as an ocean tidal wave and almost entirely driven by its singer’s dynamic vocal range. In a culmination of themes both past and present, “Insane” serves as the breakthrough moment that many of us have been waiting to hear from Mateo Briscoe since first debuting on his scene, and while it might not be the most elaborate composition you’ll hear this April, nor the longest at a generic four-minute running time, it more than compensates listeners for its lack of frills with rich textures, sonic depth and a robust lead harmony that you won’t soon forget. I had high expectations coming into this review, but I’m pleased to say that they were mostly exceeded thanks to Briscoe’s amazing attention to detail. 

From a lyrical perspective, “Insane” isn’t necessarily the most profoundly communicative singer/songwriter song out right now, but the real point here was – as I hear it – never to emphasize the verses so much as how Briscoe is presenting them to us. He straddles the instrumental groove, as mild-mannered as it undeniably is, with a precise vocal cadence that is hypnotizing but not undefined in the grander scheme of things.

There are moments when he surrenders some of the command over to the backing band, and others where he takes the reins as if to suddenly steer us into the light of day before we drift too far into darkness. The harmonizing he does with the strings is at the center of everything here, the eye of the storm if you will, and by making it the core focus of “Insane,” we get to feel as much as Briscoe is without his needing to overindulge in a lyrical narrative. 

Fans of Mateo Briscoe’s music both old and new alike should make a point to hear this new single a lot sooner than later; I think it’s the best of the content he’s released to the masses since first becoming known to the masses. “Insane” establishes this artist as a beacon of consistency amidst a world that is growing increasingly treacherous for artists who like to stick to a standard blueprint instead of constantly reinventing themselves, and for this reason, Briscoe should be regarded as one of the more important voices to arise from the underground in the new decade.

His story is only just beginning to unfold, but at the rate he’s been cultivating his artistry, I think we’re going to hear a full-length album of songs a lot like this one before the year 2023 is over. The demand is there for it, and once you’ve heard this single, I think you’ll agree with me. 

Mindy McCall



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