Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
When your first track comes with a refrain of “tell me her name, tell me her name”, you know you’re in for something visceral, impacting and lyrically striking. This is a record just brimming with ideas, ‘Lilacs’ features arpeggiating synths and sparse percussion, and operatic textures, before the piano balladry of ‘Watching You Fall’, which plays on a piano chord progression that nods to Frida Hyvönen, and shows off the range of Cohen’s vocal, a remarkably clear, bright delivery that’s consistently excellent. The sheer range of ideas on this record put Cohen in great stead – ‘Fake It’ is punctuated by a slithering bass-line that wouldn’t sound out of place in post-dubstep, yet, the ticking hi-hats and deep, rich string instrumentation keeps the track on an even, pop keel.
With a denser sound than the spacious Child Bride, Hannah Cohen's second album, Pleasure Boy, brings atmospheric, tense synths and dissonant effects for a cinematic feel on the collection of torch songs. While her debut was more about longing and fascination, here Cohen plays the role of a melancholy Lorelei, both on the come-hither, topless (no, no, on second glance, not topless) cover photo, and on an opening track about trying to seduce her love interest away from another ("If I ask you to leave her/Would you go?/Tell me you still love me"). Produced again by keyboardist Thomas Bartlett (the National, Rufus Wainwright), the concise, eight-track set consists of songs with different takes on pining for a lost love, one that could have been but was never hers: "I didn't wanna elicit trouble/I just wanted to be your baby sometimes, too.
Hannah Cohen’s 2012 debut Child Bride was a light-touch triumph: sincere sentiments and simple songs combining to forlorn but floaty effect. On album number two, the NY-based singer-songwriter eschews the shallows to wallow in deeper woes. From the wry title down, Pleasure Boy is an emotional evocation of relationship fallout, a cut that scars through time and self.