HATCHIE + CIEL – GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON 09.06.19
Sometimes in life you just have one of those days where everything goes wrong! Yesterday (9th June 2019) was one of those days for Brisbane based recording artist Hatchie.
It should have been a wondrous day for her as her debut LP ‘Keepsake’ had literally just arrived and she was able to physically touch the 12” clear vinyl platter, out on 21st June via Heavenly Recordings, for the very first time.
Hatchie aka Harriette Pilbeam (lead vocals/guitar) was in Brighton (with her three bandmates) on the opening date of her first ever headlining UK ‘Without A Blush’ tour and in her own words he reported:
“Today in a nutshell: – Smacked my head on a low roof. – Tripped over in public. – Bird stole lunch out of my hands. – Got my fr*ckin period!!!!!! Gimme a break!!!! Oh yeah and Joe shut a dirty public bin lid on my hand!!!”
However, the wonderful folk of Brighton soon rectified things and truly made Hatchie very happy indeed. She informed the crowd at the end of her Green Door Store performance that their appreciation of her concert more than made up for her bad day and that Brighton is still one of her favourite cities in the world. In fact she was really buzzing on her merch stand after the show. Especially as the Brighton punters were the very first people in the whole world to be able to purchase her 10-track ‘Keepsake’ album, a whole 12 days prior to its official launch date. Suffice to say, an orderly queue formed and many copies were willingly signed by the Australian star in the making.
This was my second Hatchie live experience as I had seen her support The Vaccines at the Brighton Dome in January – report HERE.
I have to confess that I actually preferred last night’s concert better than my previous encounter, which is an encouraging sign of her moving in the right direction. She performed ten tracks with her band of which half were culled from her forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album and the other half we all lifted from her excellent 2018 debut 12” EP ‘Sugar & Spice’.
On ‘Sugar & Spice’, Hatchie delivered the sonic equivalent of falling deliriously in love: a sustained rush of feeling, rendered in swoony melodies and gauzy guitar tones and endlessly hypnotic layers of sound. Now, with her full-length debut ‘Keepsake’, the Australian singer/songwriter tries on countless new textures, exploring everything from industrial to new wave to dance-pop, handling each with understated elegance and pure, powerful feeling.
Harriette recorded her new album in a home studio in Melbourne and worked again with John Castle—the producer behind ‘Sugar & Spice’, a 2018 release that prompted Pitchfork to dub her the “dream-pop idol of tomorrow.” And while the album begins and ends with two massively catchy pop tracks—the brightly defiant ‘Not That Kind,’ the euphoric and epic ‘Keep’—many songs drift into more emotionally tangled terrain, shedding light on experiences both ephemeral and life-changing.
Throughout ‘Keepsake’, Hatchie’s kaleidoscopic sonic palette draws out distinct moods and tones, continually revealing her depth and imagination as a musician and songwriter. On lead single ‘Without a Blush,’ jagged guitar riffs and woozy rhythms meet in a sprawling piece of industrial-pop, with Hatchie’s gorgeously airy voice channelling loss and longing, regret and self-doubt. Another industrial-leaning track, ‘Unwanted Guest’ unfolds in wobbly synth lines and fantastically icy spoken-word vocals, along with lyrics about “being dragged to a party I don’t want to be at, then getting at a fight at the party, and kind of hating myself for it but hating everybody else too.” Meanwhile, on ‘Her Own Heart,’ Hatchie presents a radiant jangle-pop gem that puts a singular twist on the post-breakup narrative. “I’d seen people in my life go through breakups and end up with no idea what to do with themselves,” she says. “I wrote that song from the point of view of a girl who winds up on her own and embraces having to figure out who she is, who doesn’t let her life get turned upside-down like that.”
Elsewhere on ‘Keepsake’, Hatchie brings an unlikely transcendence to the most tender of moments. With its softly pulsing beats and slow-building intensity, ‘Secret’ spins a heartrending anthem from what she describes as “confiding to a friend about your mental health struggles, the things you can’t work out on your own.” On ‘Kiss the Stars,’ Hatchie’s cascading guitar work and mesmeric vocals meet with lyrics capturing a precise form of melancholy. “With that song, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a Sunday afternoon when the sun is setting and you don’t want the day to be over—that awful end-of-weekend feeling,” she says. And on ‘Stay With Me,’ Hatchie offers up ‘Keepsake’s’ most utterly rhapsodic track, all incandescent synth and unstoppable rhythm. “At first I thought I could never put that on my album—it felt too dancey and pop, and I figured it could really shine on someone else’s record,” she says. “But then I realized: I’m the one dictating what my sound is; what I put on my album is up to me.”
That self-possessed spirit infuses all of ‘Keepsake’, which ultimately serves as a document of a particularly kinetic moment in Hatchie’s life. “I’m not much of a nostalgic person when it comes to memories, but I do have a tendency to hold on to certain things, like tickets from the first time I went someplace on holiday,” says Hatchie in reflecting on the album’s title. “It made sense to me to call the record that, at a time when I’m going to probably end up with a lot of keepsakes—and in a way, this whole album is almost like a keepsake in itself.”
After a mere ten live tracks of summery dreampop of the highest order performed at the charismatic Green Door Store, Harriette and the guys Joe Agius (guitar/keys/long raincoat), Richie Daniell (drums) and David Gauci (guitar/overcoat) had completed their first Brighton headline gig. I tell you there wasn’t a bad track amongst them at all and I have to flag the night’s finale ‘Stay With Me’ as a potential future classic!
Hatchie setlist reads:
‘Try’ (found on 2018 ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP)
‘Obsessed’ (found on forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album)
‘Sugar & Spice’ (found on 2018 ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP)
‘Her Own Heart’ (found on forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album)
‘Kiss The Stars’ (found on forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album)
‘Bad Guy’ (found on 2018 ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP)
‘Sleep’ (found on 2018 ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP)
‘Without A Blush’ (found on forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album)
‘Sure’ (found on 2018 ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP)
‘Stay With Me’ (found on forthcoming ‘Keepsake’ album)
Hatchie on social media:
Support this evening came from CIEL, which is pronounced (She-Elle). This has been until quite recently the solo project of Dutch born Michelle Hindriks. A few years ago, Michelle came over to the UK and attended the terrific BIMM musical school in Brighton and the city has been calling her back ever since and now she is a resident here and has put together a band in order to take her shoegaze style mellow dream-pop project forward.
We are no strangers to witnessing Michelle perform live as we were fortunate enough to not only catch her first UK gig with the band, but also on a few subsequent occasions, and each time we see them they get better and better.
Although we were served a mere seven tracks, all of them were most enjoyable. ‘Naked’ is certainly one for fans of The Cure and I really love ‘Awake’ because it is their most electronic sounding tune with its heavy synth sound mixed with Joy Division style drumming. It was released on her debut 4 track EP entitled ‘Anxiety’, which you can grab HERE. The final number ‘The Shore’ has a jangly guitar sound and the guys are heading off to the studio in July, with a view to releasing this and other material in the Autumn.
CIEL setlist reads:
‘Castles’, ‘East Song’ (working title for new track), ‘Acrophobia’, ‘Pictures’, ‘Naked’, ‘Awake’, ‘The Shore’.
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