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Paul Brill – Sisters

Paul Brill’s latest offering is like a timeless novel; encompassing a wide array deep emotion and observant description.



This advanced promotional copy of the new Paul Brill LP came without cover art and packaging; but the most important aspect of Brill’s music came intact – his music. The follow up to his Halve the Light LP is an intricate blend of guitar driven indie rock dabbed with classy folk and light country. With members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Tin Hat Trio, Brill is able to once again capture the hearts and ears of his listeners. From the guitar friendly, almost ambient “Barefoot in the Snow” to the orchestra backed “Macon”, his combination of musical honesty and soulful clarity broadcasts so vibrantly, so effectively that it reaches out to one’s most poignant being – the heart.

Like the fine creation of heartland rock, “Skylight” appears like a positive aching, the very essence of hope and sound, emanating from some moonlit rooftop to bring down the breath of earth. It’s Brill at his finest; aware and observant, like someone “cut a hole into the roof so we could see the night”. It is followed by the more somber “Favorite Thing”, replete with a more sullen Brill and effortless instrumental support. In “Blue Blanket”, Brill resurrects the solemn sound that permeated through his preceding EP (the Sisters EP), and carries on right through to “Something to Get Along” – distinctly natural and beautifully expresses the sound and soul of ‘post country heartache’.

Paul Brill’s latest offering is like a timeless novel; encompassing a wide array deep emotion and observant description. Delicate in structure but grand in display, Brill is the enchanting musician who captivates his audience – a masterful artist, the unsuspecting Kerouac.

(Scarlet Shame 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



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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