It’s been over a year since I went to see Hatchie at the Hug and Pint in Glasgow after her amazing EP Sugar and Spice was released, so I was pretty excited to get a first listen to her new album Keepsake. However, where Sugar and Spice felt like it was bringing 80’s and 90’s chorus/reverb laden pop music back with some dynamism, Keepsake feels like it’s found itself stuck in a formulaic re hash of the contemporaries Hatchie was compared to after that previous release.
In the making of Keepsake, the Brisbane-bred musician otherwise known as Harriette Pilbeam recorded in her home studio in Melbourne and worked again with John Castle, the same producer behind Sugar & Spice. As well as being in bands such as Babaganouj and the Go Violets, she has also worked with Cocteau Twins’ guitarist, Robin Guthrie.
There are some nice tracks (Stay hits the mark with simple lyrical content and melodic guitars and Without A Blush finds an initial darker sounding side of Hatchie before a signature catchy chorus), but songs like Secret, which unfortunately backs on to sixth form lyrical Kiss The Stars find themselves lost in a saccharine-drenched synth-chorus mush. The song Her Own Heart sounds like a cross between The Corrs and a first release by a newly dropped girl band member and while that may well be what you are looking for, overall it lacks the vibrancy and impact of her previous release. That all being said, I think this album will be a massive hit for Hatchie. There’s a place for dream pop which leans heavily on 80’s and 90’s influences. From newcomers to the genre who haven’t heard Beach House, Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som to older fans of The Sundays and St Etienne, there’s inoffensive good pop music in here.
Perhaps for inadvertent fans of dream pop or just straight up pop music fans who are looking for a safer guitar alternative to Lorde or MØ, which is not I.
Keepsake is out today, via Heavenly Recordings.