Now this was an exciting prospect. Through random circumstances, every time I would be traveling on tour with my band we always ended up playing shows with this great rock/hardcore hybrid band called Endicott. I was always impressed with their live show as it always exuded a high energy performance with enough crowd participation to keep everyone involved. They always reminded me of a less old school influenced Bane.
When I first heard rumblings of the Equal Vision deal being sealed (it was a wonder why it took so long seeing as members of the band actually worked at Equal Vision) this was going to finally expose the band to the rest of the hardcore world. Were they able to deliver? In my estimation they fall short of the mark. This is not to say the band is horrible and cannot redeem themselves in different ways but with this record, I would rather have a mulligan (a do over in golf terms).
The initial impression of any record is usually the recording quality as sometimes not even amazing music is able to penetrate a horrible recording. The recording quality on this is almost unbearable. Of course I have heard worse recordings, but when a band enters a somewhat reputable studio such as Big Blue Meanie- who has turned out some good records like Thursday and This Day Forward- and turns out something like this, it is beyond my comprehension. It just sounds like a pre-production session that got translated into a full-length record. The music still retains the same vibe that they did with their previous demos but is missing the energy you know can be present. It has moments of material that can be infectious; it is just too hard to delve between the rest of it.
I would advise most to check out the available samples, make up your own mind but if you rely on this review alone for your opinion, I would say wait for it to hit the used bin- if that.
(Equal Vision Records)
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.