Hatchie – Keepsake
Hatchie adds some welcome fuzz to her dream-pop sound on her debut album, Keepsake
Harriette Pilbeam seemed to pop up like a mirage – beautiful, nourishing, out of nowhere fully-formed, and yet with a hard to pin down origin. As Hatchie, Pilbeam deals in ever so slightly skewed dream-pop that has won her comparisons to the Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and other masters of the genre.
After the comparatively gentle Sugar & Spice, her debut album Keepsake is an attempt to muddy that EP’s silken elegance with a bit of dirt and scum in the form of fuzzed-out bass and ceaseless beats. Unwanted Guest sees that intention work best. But Cocteau Twins this is not (a point of similarity that was always reaching and lazy – Hatchie isn’t as weird or experimental, and Pilbeam’s voice isn’t as extra-terrestrial as Elizabeth Fraser’s).
Keepsake is an assured debut, but what it reveals is Pilbeam has actually not yet realised her best self. Keepsake is at its best when not trying too hard for substance, and rather leaning into soaring choruses, as on Without a Blush. Stay With Me begins as a dark 90s dance number, but crucially remains interesting even when it leads to where you expect. This style of music reaches its peaks when aiming for that inexplicable overdose of feeling. And Hatchie is really good at that.
Listen to: Without a Blush, Unwanted Guest, Secret