A more mature second album
Alex Rigotti
16:05 22nd April 2022

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I was first attracted to Hatchie when I heard lead single ‘This Enchanted’. The slightly sour pianos hinted at something odd, washed away by Harriet Pilbeam’s distant vocals and a punchy drumline. And then, after a brief pause, the drums kick in and ‘This Enchanted’ descends into a howling pit of emotion. 

Such is the emotional landscape of Hatchie’s second album, Giving The World Away, an album that’s caught between two worlds. You can still hear the lovesick dregs of Hatchie’s debut, Keepsake, drenching the record with Elisabeth Fraser and Siouxsie Sioux influences. Although there’s more consideration being put into Hatchie’s lyrical and vocal personality, Giving The World Away is, at its core, another stylised dream-pop record from Pilbeam. 

More attention has been paid to the songwriting this time round, and it really pays off for key tracks. "Time is pointed at me like a gun" sings Hatchie on the fantastic ‘Don’t Leave Me In The Rain’. It’s an expansive, wonderfully dramatic track that uses its central conceit as an excuse to be as melodramatic as possible. Meanwhile, the jubilant opener ‘Lights On’ sees Hatchie come into her own as she announces: "I never felt so good with the lights on". Coupled with a killer intro, it’s the perfect way to begin the record. 

For most of her career, Hatchie has scratched at the sweet spot between pop and shoegaze; occasionally, this philosophy gives way to mundane, droll choruses that don’t make full use of the song. This is especially frustrating on the reverent ‘Sunday Song’, which sees Hatchie wax lyrical about her lover: "Feel like my heart’s made up of rooms / On each wall, a portrait of you". But on that same song, the chorus is left on a single sentence, intoned in a breathy drone: "The way you look at me, the way I look at you". It’s hardly the most compelling thought to be left as a mantra. It even produces songs which are so muddy that they’re hard to grasp; the off-kilter rhythms of ‘Twin’ distract from the awesome Polachekian vocals that Pilbeam uses.

Hatchie’s worldview is curiously cinematic; though its inspirations are foreign, the sound is distinctly Australian, like the soundtrack of a Puberty Blues-type show. Giving The World Away never seems entirely sure where it wants to stand, but at least it sounds good in its uncertainty. 

Giving The World Away is out now.

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