Hazel English: Wake Up! (Polyvinyl) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 8th, 2020  

Hazel English

Wake Up!

Polyvinyl

May 06, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Wake Up!, the debut album from Australian-born, LA-based singer/songwriter Hazel English toils in the over-crowded bittersweet, dream pop world from which it is hard to distinguish oneself from the masses. 

Armed with a glossy vocal punch and a sound with hints of The Cranberries and Blondie, Ms. English’s compositions are familiar and comfortable while occasionally seeking the adventurous. Most tracks are pleasingly uncluttered, well-produced indie pop consisting of light and airy synth-based melodies and breezy indie-guitar strums over polished bass lines.    

English does her best to rise above the fray with a strong four-song start to the album. Opener “Born Like” along with the title track and “Off My Mind” are original compositions with clever pop sensibilities and a blend of retro synth rock and hazy dream pop. But standout track “Shaking” takes it to a whole other level by capturing lightning in a bottle with a more complex sound that is decidedly more bitter than sweet with a playful beat, bouncy counter-rhythms, and surging guitar riffs.    

Unfortunately the remaining tracks are somewhat of a mixed bag and instead of straddling the line between country and bittersweet indie pop they all too often cross the line into country. These pleasant tunes don’t have enough sharp dynamics to give them an edge and so end up as mostly fluff without so much substance and represent the reflective mood of the album. (www.hazelenglishmusic.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10



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