It’s been a busy year for Matthew DeLoach, and that’s putting it mildly. Between collaborating with Taylor Nave (Coco & Clair Clair) and spinning records at 529, the artist better known as Mannequin Lover has been working feverishly on a new EP, writing a new song every day over the past month. This impressive work ethic is reflected in the vibrant details of his new single “The Creature I Always Meant to Be.” The title comes from a Pet Shop Boy’s song and references DeLoach’s tendency to use the word “creature” to personify ambition.

Unlike most of his previous tracks, the new cut isn’t graced by DeLoach’s gently haunting vocals, and as such it isn’t quite as melancholy as his past material. Instead, the instrumental track relies on a shimmering array of neon synths and retro beats. The vibe is exceedingly breezy, which belies the strenuous creative journey DeLoach has faced this year. “It’s been a particularly bad year for me in a lot of ways,” he explains. “There was a part of this year where I lost my creative motivation almost entirely.”

But despite the birth pains, “The Creature I Always Meant to Be” is well worth the wait. In the latter half of the track, the summery tones bend and sway dramatically, rousing the listener from their hypnotic daze and tilting the structure towards more robotic territory.

There’s no guarantee the song will appear on Mannequin Lover’s upcoming EP; regardless, expect the record to drop before the end of the year. DeLoach was able to enlist DKA Records alumni Travis Thatcher (Voice of Saturn) for the mastering, which seems like the perfect fit considering Thatcher’s expansive take on ’80s electronica. In addition, watch out for another Mannequin Lover track coming out on a compilation by local label Persistent Midnight this fall.

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