On her debut EP Sugar & Spice, Hatchie delivered the sonic equivalent of falling deliriously in love: a sustained rush of feeling, rendered in swoony melodies and gauzy guitar tones and endlessly hypnotic layers of sound. Now, with her full-length debut Keepsake, the Australian singer/songwriter tries on countless new textures, exploring everything from industrial to new wave to dance-pop, handling each with understated elegance and pure, powerful feeling.|
In the making of Keepsake, the Brisbane-bred musician, otherwise known as Harriette Pilbeam, recorded in a home studio in Melbourne and worked again with John Castle -- the producer behind Sugar & Spice, a 2018 release that prompted Pitchfork to dub her the dream-pop idol of tomorrow. And while the album begins and ends with two massively catchy pop tracks -- the brightly defiant Not That Kind, the euphoric and epic Keep -- many songs drift into more emotionally tangled terrain, shedding light on experiences both ephemeral and life-changing.
Throughout Keepsake, Hatchies kaleidoscopic sonic palette draws out distinct moods and tones, continually revealing her depth and imagination as a musician and songwriter. On lead single Without a Blush, jagged guitar riffs and woozy rhythms meet in a sprawling piece of industrial-pop, with Hatchies gorgeously airy voice channeling loss and longing, regret and self-doubt. Another industrial-leaning track, Unwanted Guest unfolds in wobbly synth lines and fantastically icy spoken-word vocals, along with lyrics about being dragged to a party I dont want to be at, then getting at a fight at the party, and kind of hating myself for it but hating everybody else too. Meanwhile, on Her Own Heart, Hatchie presents a radiant jangle-pop gem that puts a singular twist on the post-breakup narrative. Id seen people in my life go through breakups and end up with no idea what to do with themselves, she says. I wrote that song from the point of view of a girl who winds up on her own and embraces having to figure out who she is, who doesnt let her life get turned upside-down like that.
Elsewhere on Keepsake, Hatchie brings an unlikely transcendence to the most tender of moments. With its softly pulsing beats and slow-building intensity, Secret spins a heartrending anthem from what she describes as confiding to a friend about your mental health struggles, the things you cant work out on your own. On Kiss the Stars, Hatchies cascading guitar work and mesmeric vocals meet with lyrics capturing a precise form of melancholy. With that song, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a Sunday afternoon when the sun is setting and you dont want the day to be over -- that awful end-of-weekend feeling, she says. And on Stay With Me, Hatchie offers up Keepsakes most utterly rhapsodic track, all incandescent synth and unstoppable rhythm. At first I thought I could never put that on my album -- it felt too dancey and pop, and I figured it could really shine on someone elses record, she says. But then I realized: Im the one dictating what my sound is; what I put on my album is up to me.
That self-possessed spirit infuses all of Keepsake, which ultimately serves as a document of a particularly kinetic moment in Hatchies life. Im not much of a nostalgic person when it comes to memories, but I do have a tendency to hold on to certain things, like tickets from the first time I went someplace on holiday, says Hatchie in reflecting on the albums title. It made sense to me to call the record that, at a time when Im going to probably end up with a lot of keepsakes -- and in a way, this whole album is almost like a keepsake in itself.
The Shitty Barn (View)
506 East Madison
Spring Green, WI 53588