Right from the start Hatchie seemed to have something other songwriters lacked. Real name Harriette Pilbeam, the Brisbane talent’s debut EP ‘Sugar & Spice’ was a deft fusion of shoegaze and indie pop, delivered with this coy sense of post-adolescent introversion.
‘Keepsake’ retains this sound but builds on it; bold, bigger, musically more confident while lyrically looking ever more inward, it’s the sound of the songwriter truly coming into her own.
‘Not That Kind’ is a glorious onward rush, the cotton candy synths wrapping themselves around the ice cool guitar chords and Hatchie’s plaintive vocal. ‘Without A Blush’ has this playful sense of rhythm, this almost baggy sense of swagger, while ‘Her Own Heart’ glides like Slowdive at their most effervescent.
It’s not all early 90s reference points, though. Sure, Hatchie has that sound nailed – and it’s an appealing gift, for sure – but ‘Keepsake’ is illuminated by highly personal moments, by perfectly off-the-cuff moments.
Take ‘Unwanted Guest’. Opening with a distorted murmur, the backwards guitar effects are utterly disorienting, while Hatchie’s lyrics speak eloquently of feeling lost in both love and life. ‘Kiss The Stars’ is a heavenly concoction, almost Baroque in its ability to pluck notes from the upper atmosphere, leading into the romantic urgency of ‘Stay With Me’.
An album that frequently dwells on communication, or the lack thereof, ‘Keepsake’ feels like a meditation on a particular moment, a peculiar knot in Hatchie’s own life. She returns to themes or guitar sounds, continually unfolding new layers of meaning or beauty.
Ending with the beautifully soft ‘Keep’, the album’s snappy 10 track run-list positively invites further plays, perpetuating this desire to keep the cycle going.
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