Refreshing songwriting with an airy sense of grace...

Clad in a red suit, hat and lip, her cover picture positions her as a modern dreamer: a new kind of hero. For her second full length album, ‘Wake Up!’, Hazel English pivots for a musical array of expanded soundscapes that articulate a dynamic evolution of her music.

Her EP ‘Five And Dime’ was released earlier this year, which include four of the 10 tracks from the full album. With an ephemeral dewy breezy richness, English has cultivated a beautiful intersection of sound that lingers between folk, indie and dream pop. She plays homage to the 1960s era of sounds with slow sweeps and romantic pauses, melodies and playfulness that intertwine throughout the album. 

With a graceful strength, English sings from the hard to reach places of love. A soft power melts over as the listener is met with a tide of earnest offerings that don’t stray from the lost entanglements of the heart. True to suit she boldly upholds a narrative of love that doesn’t fit in one box. She outlines and gives a full landscape of love as battle. 

On ‘Work It Out’ she sings, ‘We can work it out, sure I have my doubt, we will see this thing through..always come home to you…’ over a steady but strong drum that carries the pulse of her emotive longing in her voice. Then in ‘Five And Dime’ she sings, ‘I gotta get away because you’re taking up all of my time. You know I need my space so I’m heading to the five and dime,’ with a lightness echoed by that airy guitar riff. 

Ultimately, this album is a story, ending with ‘Work It Out’, that does not shy away from the vulnerable and chaotic edges of love. English’s previous album and singles have positioned herself as an indie daydream folk darling with a sun-kissed sound, and in this album it is exciting to see her expand into a new body of work that has an elevated energy.

With a new sharpness, Hazel English has delved into a sophistication that dynamically blends her previous music to create an oscillation of hard and soft that exudes in her tonality.

8/10

Words: Rae Niwa

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