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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

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Hatchie Keepsake

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.

(Heavenly Recordings)

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Wlots – Sempre Piu

Swedish hardcore band WLOTS takes you on a journey of musical rage on their new album Sempre Piu.

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Swedish band WLOTS have come up with their debut full-length album Sempre Piu which means ‘ever-increasing’ in Italian. It is quite the fitting name for this album, as it is the build-ups and breaks downs of this album that are amazing. Most if not all songs evolve and progress and are indeed, ever increasing. This is an impressive collection of songs, particularly because of the introductions. Each song carries an intro of anticipation and is what impressed me the most with the album. The first song “Meno” is one big deep and dark intro. With no lyrics, it is a teaser of what is to come.  

Treat your ears to “Bitter Lemon”, but take special note of the drums, they will really capture your attention. The lead singer has an impressive range. He can hold his high pitch voice with such passion and hatred, don’t bother trying to sing along to this one!   

“I Hate My Friends” has a classic emo guitar riff throughout and is the beginning of songs with amazing changeups. Tempos change between fast and intense, to slower, darker instruments, and then all in for the ending. It never loses its power as a song, regardless of what pace it holds. In contrast to “Bitter Lemon”, a chorus of “I see you when I close my eyes” cries out for a more stripped back, uncomplicated song. It is a simpler song, yet still highly emotive. 

What can WLOTS do with a few interludes? A lot I tell ya. “I Know You Know” is creepy. It is a slow tremble of guitar and a whisper of a voice in the background. Then we arrive at  “Backwash”, which is even creepier. A concerning voice fills the environment as a two-note tone plays. Now that we have taken a slight interval, we resume to the punchy, busy tunes.

Smart move by the band, to have the next song that has a strong introduction and a fast pace leading us out of the interlude and back into business. “Chiasso” is a short but sturdy addition. It is absolute chaos of an introduction which contrasts the acoustic guitar and soft singing that ends the song. 

Every piece tells a story. “Adagio” is a great example of this. It includes a message a girl is leaving for someone. As you listen you become increasingly concerned for the person she is leaving the message for, and as it cuts out you become intrigued as to who it is for and what their situation is. It is accompanied by a somber piano addition.    

This album covers a lot of ground. It is structured so well as individual songs and as a whole. You’re interested throughout album because you can really feel the emotion pouring from the band. Sempre Piu takes you on a journey of musical rage. 

(Deep Elm Records)

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