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Hatchie

Giving the World Away

Secretly Canadian

Apr 21, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Brisbane, Australia-based singer/songwriter Hatchie’s debut EP, Sugar and Spice, and subsequent full-length album, Keepsake, blended sugar-sweet harmonies, undulating synths, and layered gauzy shoegaze guitars to create something of a masterclass in bittersweet dream pop. It drew comparisons to venerated artists from the past such as The Sundays, Chapterhouse, and even My Bloody Valentine at the poppier end of their noise spectrum.

However when approaching her second album, Giving the World Away, Harriette Pilbeam (for it is she who is Hatchie) wanted to shake things up, to prove that there was more to her than simply writing wistful tales focusing on love and heartbreak. She also reasoned that as an artist it was important for her sound to evolve, and (as she explains in her recent Under the Radar interview) wanted to add a sense of dynamism to her oeuvre. However, Pilbeam was acutely aware that whilst expanding her sound it was important to do so in a way that her existing fan base would be able to embrace. And on Giving the World Away that’s exactly what she’s achieved, absolutely nailing the sweet spot between danceable pop and alt-pop whilst keeping the subtle shoegaze elements she’s always been drawn to. “This album really just feels like the beginning to me, and scratching the surface,” Pilbeam says, “and even though it’s my third release as Hatchie, I feel like I’m rebooting from scratch.”

Giving the World Away opens with the first two songs written for the album, previous singles “Lights On” and “This Enchanted,” two absolutely sparkling pop tunes that sit somewhere between Dubstar, The Beloved, and the poppier end of shoegaze. “Take My Hand” is beautiful windswept, cinematic dreampop, whilst “The Rhythm” goes heavy on the synths, creating a dazzling tangle of soaring harmonies, propulsive beats, and agile guitar licks. “Twin” summons the crystalline beauty of The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler whilst “Quicksand” is a perfect bittersweet pop earworm. The latter was written with Grammy-nominated Olivia Rodrigo collaborator Dan Nigro and draws on Pilbeam’s dawning awareness of feeling slightly lost, whilst seemingly being immersed in the glamorous world of being a successful musician, or as she puts it, “it’s about dealing with the realization that you’ll never be satisfied.’’

However, Pilbeam must be satisfied with Giving the World Away as it seems to achieve everything she set out to do. She certainly sounds more confident having rediscovered her verve, whilst both lyrically and melodically she digs deeper, and the results speak for themselves. The title track, “Giving the World Away,” in part sounds like a classic old school post-rave comedown and is a perfect example of Hatchie tapping into the ’90s indie/dance crossover and giving it a modern twist. It’s a sumptuous album that plays to her strengths whilst allowing her to branch out as an artist and in doing so she is able to add more depth and texture to her iridescent soundscapes. (www.hatchie.net)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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