fanclubwallet: You Have Got to Be Kidding Me (AWAL) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 6th, 2022  

fanclubwallet

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

AWAL

May 20, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Described as the “ecstatic, tongue in cheek project” of Ottawa-based musician Hannah Judge, fanclubwallet synthesizes the lo-fi bedroom melancholia of classic indie acts such as Bright Eyes with the alt pop sophistication of Lights Poxleitner-Bokan, with intriguing results.

Two years in the making, fanclubwallet’s emotionally charged debut full-length album, You Have Got to Be Kidding Me, is the culmination of several significant events in Judge’s life, including breaking up with her boyfriend, dropping out of college, and moving back in with her parents. Her discontent can be sensed in the album’s detached introspection, the flat affect of the Gen Z balladeer’s vocals embodying the cool removal of an existential do-over. Enlivening its generally wintry atmosphere, the album’s eccentricities pair well with the heartache around which its narrative is structured, adding a necessary warmth to its naked humanity. Ultimately, You Have Got to Be Kidding Me is a well-balanced slice of homegrown indie pop, a welcome addition to the decade’s musical canon.

Opening track “Solid Ground” finds Judge observing, “Sometimes you miss/Sleeping next to them even if you/Don’t miss them anymore,” marking the beginning of her journey. “Sometimes the music’s/ Different if you listen to it in/Your old bedroom,” she continues. “And if the friendship’s over/You still remember the color/Of their shoelaces.” These opening lines frame You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me’s positions, Judge’s hushed vocals, not quite whispered, not quite sung, reflecting its emotional exhaustion. The subsequent “Gr8 Timing!” takes a harder edge, its electric guitar giving way to a gritty trip hop beat upon Judge’s confession: “I deserve to be/With someone that hurts me/So I’ll just spend/All of my time with myself,” though its blow is instantly softened by the fragile beauty of “Fell Through,” on which she asserts, “Are you on the fence/Are you thinking still/No one asked you to come/And no one will.”

Judge’s lyrics are especially impressive, in that they possess a heavy poetic bent, while maintaining the raw confessions of sporadic journal entries, a feat not easily achievable by just any artist. “Jar,” “Coming Over,” and “National TV,” the album’s three standouts, further fanclubwallet’s vision, Judge acknowledging on the latter, “And doesn’t time just fly/When you’re not having fun being around me,” proving herself capable of straightforward self-evaluation, devoid of rock and roll pretension or indie sarcasm. Of course, she returns her criticism to her Other on the album’s closing title track: “I’m just kidding/No need to overreact/I don’t like the way you are acting/Tell me who made you like that?”

Fanclubwallet is a promising act, and You Have Got to Be Kidding Me is a lyrically honest and melodically appealing release. There is a sense of past and present interlaced throughout each track, the album’s atmosphere feeling both of its time, as well as of the ’90s and early-’00s, when lo-fi indie experienced its golden age. Judge is apparently a student of Elliott Smith and related genre pioneers, from whom she has quite obviously learned plenty, her wispy vocals and jaggedly honest lyrics introducing such sentiment to a younger generation. One anticipates what the future may bring for Judge, and the ways in which her sound might evolve, as she is plainly capable of much greatness. Until then, You Have Got to Be Kidding Me is a worthwhile listen, perhaps one of the decade’s key breakup albums, its heartache and pining alive with a certain youthful playfulness, rendering it accessible to a broad range of listeners. (www.fanclubwallet.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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