Upon the release of her jangly, dreamy first single “Try” last summer, the Australian bassist and singer Harriette Pilbeam was already making waves as her song floated around many “Best of 2017” lists and BBC’s Triple J rotation. Pilbeam, known formally as Hatchie, said in an interview with Noisey that while listening to the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Kylie Minogue, and Sky Ferreira, she had a clear vision to make music that would connect these artist together by blaring out the spacious, sometimes celestial qualities these artist all touch upon. As up-and-coming pop acts usually go, her clear-cut vision had dozens of labels and agencies courting her, and on her debut EP “Sugar & Spice,” Hatchie unquestionably lives up to the hype.
The EP opens with the lush, shimmering ‘Sure,’ which embodies many of the bands Hatchie has been compared to including The Cranberries, Cocteau Twins, and The Sundays. The opening guitar jangles and grows into a blissed-out, summery dream pop gem that fills every crack it takes up. Hatchie has said that she loved dream pop for the “wall of sounds” it builds beyond the typical guitar, drums, and vocals, and uses the clamour of all the noises to turn a relationship turned sour into hope for the future, “I’m not sure about it, but I’m sure you can change my mind” is repeated as she questions in the background, “Do you even think about me?”
The following track ‘Sleep’ continues to blow out the pop aspects of her songwriting to new heights, although she reported in the Noisy interview that this was the most pop song she’d probably ever write. In trying to get a lover to say what’s really on their mind, Hatchie whispers seemingly to herself that “You don’t need to speak out loud, you can say it in your sleep” behind soaring synths before her voice comes out front and center during the verses. Throughout the EP’s 5 songs, Hatchie plays with the space in between real life and dream life, making music that is all at once flowy and languid, aware but still blissful. And while Pilbeam has said that she herself could never be a pop star, she and her band are already writing full on pop tracks that could hold their own among bands years older.
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While 4 of the releases 5 tracks have already been released over the past year, the EP ends with it’s closest relation to a ballad with ‘Bad Guy,’ where jangly guitars take up much of the space for a song that recalls the hazy, girl-group inspired songwriting of the cult indie band Dum Dum Girls. Her vocals soar and undulate to angelic coos just after coming to terms with it all, “You could be the bad guy, I could be the bad guy, anyway you want to try, doesn’t make it feel right.” While Hatchie might not be feeling right with everything in her life at the moment, “Sugar & Spice” is a confident first release that hits everything right.
The full track listing for ‘Sugar & Spice’ is…
‘Sugar & Spice’