Maya Hawke – MOSS

A compelling, assured full length...

With 2020 debut LP ‘Blush’, singer-songwriter Maya Hawke showed the world she’s someone who can do it all. Hopping between creative disciplines as an already well-known figure is the cause for much trepidation with consumers, but Hawke proved her talent as an artist, as well as having one of the most interesting-sounding voices in the genre. While ‘Blush’ had its roots set more into an indie-rock sphere, brand new sophomore album ‘MOSS’ strips this back, almost to the bone. Comprising of thirteen minimalist tracks, ‘MOSS’ feels like a mature step forward for Hawke as an artist, with her firmly finding her sonic home with her brand of soft, indie-folk balladry. 

Single ‘Thérèse’ caused its own discourse on the internet as a result of its beautiful (yet explicit) music video, but the track itself is one of the best ‘acoustic’ moments of the year. Inspired by the Balthus painting of the same name, the song keeps the production sparse and haunting at times, with Hawke seeing herself as a Thérèse-type figure, an antithesis of the painting’s controversy – just simply a girl being a girl. The repeated line ‘It’s tactless, it’s a test’ encapsulates this idea perfectly. ‘Restless Moon’ has Hawke as stripped back as possible, a soft acoustic moment with an occasional strings moment buried in the background. Having Christian Lee Hutson and Jonathan Low lend a hand to parts of the record seems obvious in hindsight, with ‘MOSS’ clearly giving nods to ‘Punisher’ (Phoebe Bridgers) and ‘folklore’ (Taylor Swift), both records the two have worked on previously. 

Maya Hawke – MOSS

Closer ‘Mermaid Bar’ feels the most ‘MOSS’ track on the album, a concoction of all the ideas and emotions explored throughout the tracklist. With a simple, picked-acoustic foundation, ‘Mermaid Bar’ discusses suicide, though the aura of the track does feel a more charming and upbeat moment on the record. 

‘MOSS’ is an intimate, minimalist record, and a stunning follow up to the debut. Though some influences are worn on her sleeve at times, it doesn’t take away from the gorgeous songwriting, and unique timbre Hawke’s voice holds. Maya Hawke plays with vulnerability and honesty throughout ‘MOSS’, creating a compelling, delicate and melancholic listen. 

8/10

Words: James Mellen

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