Hatchie Gives Us All Something to Cherish With Debut Album Keepsake
The debut album from Brisbane’s Hatchie is full of surprises and asks an intriguing question about the artist’s future.
Between international heavyweights like Alvvays and Beach House and locals like Pool Shop and Bloom Parade, it’s fairly safe to say that dream pop is currently in a huge period of growth – every other week there are lush new records to disappear into. It’s the kind of music that spawns a world of its own for the listener to get lost in and while Keepsake, the debut album from Brisbane’s Hatchie is certainly no exception, it proves to be significantly more.
The trio of singles released ahead of the album remain excellent – the chorus of ‘Without a Blush’ is vintage Hatchie and acts as the perfect bridge from previous EP Sugar & Spice to Keepsake – it blends the new, more esoteric aspects of Hatchie’s sound with the swooning melodies she made her own on the last record. In tandem with ‘Not That Kind’, the single acts as the perfect one-two punch to open the record.
‘Stay With Me’ is easily the album’s most poppy, danceable track – the song builds from a morose first few verses to a frenetic pace, with Pilbeam’s voice rising above a cacophony of synths in one of Keepsake’s best choruses. ‘Stay With Me’ feels as though it could be the song that catapults Hatchie into the mainstream.
‘Obsessed’ is the third single released ahead of the album, and according to Pilbeam, ‘… is a song about friendship. I wrote it when reflecting on my teenage tendency to cling to a new best friend for support.” Following on from this, lyrics like “…blow off my friends then cry about being lonely / let Friday ruin my Saturday yet again,” hit even harder.
‘Kiss the Stars’ is another typically dreamy song, and its subdued, jangly rhythm is reminiscent of Mazzy Star’s classic single ‘Fade Into You’. The relatively long instrumental breaks give the song a certain melancholic mood, like staring out across a rainy city from the bus. Album closer ‘Keep’ is perhaps the loudest song on the record – it offers three minutes of breakneck pop music before fading out into a long, nostalgic outro – an opportunity to reflect on the eclectic mix of sounds heard all throughout Keepsake.
As was the case with Sugar & Spice, Keepsake was again produced by John Castle. The experimentation with new textures has proven a success, especially due to Pilbeam’s voice underpinning the whole record, managing to make it feel relatively cohesive; it could easily have spun out into being an extremely messy collection of songs. Keepsake is an ideal debut album in that it breaks a great deal of new ground for Hatchie and opens up a world of exciting possibilities for the band and their listeners – what direction will they go in next?
Feature Image by Joe Agius.