Brisbane, Australia-based singer/songwriter Hatchie's debut EP, Sugar and Spice, and subsequent full-length album, Keepsake, blended sugar-sweet harmonies, undulating synths, and layered gauzy shoegaze guitars to create something of a masterclass in bittersweet dream pop. It drew comparisons to venerated artists from the past such as The Sundays, Chapterhouse, and even My Bloody Valentine at the poppier end of their noise spectrum. However when approaching her second album, Giving the World Away, Harriette Pilbeam (for it is she who is Hatchie) wanted to shake things up, to prove that there was more to her than simply writing wistful tales focusing on love and heartbreak.
You don't need to listen much further than the first chorus of the track one to be struck by what a step forward Hatchie makes on Giving The World Away. An immediate highlight, opener "Lights On" blends decades of influence - new wave synths, shuddering rhythms and then sprightly, girl-band-esque vocal inflections through the shimmying chorus. It's an artistic statement of identity, and an apt preparation for the sonic world Hatchie is taking us around on the rest of the record.
most of the time i can keep both feet on the ground
Think of generic compliments you could hand to any good pop artist, and add the phrase "most of the time". Good job: you just summarised Hatchie. Hatchie is a competent songwriter, most of the time. Her songs are catchy, most of the time. The ….
Dream pop: marginally less flat line edition
Hatchie is back, determined as ever to refashion '90s dreamgaze tropes into today's earworms. This comprises a new album, Giving The World Away, and it sees her adjust her approach from her debut Keepsake, now less blissed-out and more synthed-up. This does surprisingly little to change her appeal, likely because she retains the two key pitfalls that proved so obstructive from the get-go.