On her debut album, Harriette Pilbeam, better known as Hatchie, has taken on different sounds, textures, and in some tracks different genres, and moulded them all to create a very powerful album. It explores feelings and emotions deeply and carefully, while also remaining light and easy to listen to. In some moments, its the finest dream pop, in others it’s straight up perfect pop songs, and there’s even the sparkle of new wave, all mixed together with some of her best songwriting yet.
Keepsake is one hell of an album, it’ll be on repeat for a very long time.
The album starts with Not That Kind and its drum beat that works wonderfully for an opener. The track eases listeners into the slightly different sound compared to tracks on her Sugar & Spice EP. The chorus has excellent lyricism, with the lines “Fate keeps trying to find me, but I’m not the kind of girl to let it define me/ I’m not the kind, and they keep trying to tell me that I’m out of time/ But all I ever wanted and all I ever needed was you,” becoming an immediate ear-worm in your brain. They are perfect pop lyrics.
The next offering is single Without A Blush which immediately pulls you in with the echoey xylophone-sounding riff and ever so relatable lyrics. It’s followed by Her Own Heart, another song about breakups, and all the feelings that come with it. On this track, Harriette’s voice shines, and it’s probably the most similar to tracks from Sugar & Spice. The chorus is so dreamy, and the song causes a lot of self-reflection. The line “No longer the girl with the cynical view,” really stands out as a highlight.
Unwanted Guest is a track that experiments with sounds that are quite unexpected from Hatchie, but that she has mastered and made her own. It’s a standout track on the album and one that’s been on repeat since the first listen. Her vocals also shine on this track, as does the heavy sounding guitar throughout. Despite sounding a little different from the other songs, it is in no way out of place on the album. The song is full of charm and confidence, and the refrain of, “Just give it a try” at the end of the song just adds to this.
The middle of the album turns to more classic synthy-style dream pop with Secret and Kiss the Stars providing a beautiful, sprawling landscape that Hatchie paints perfectly with her lyrics and vocals. Secret constantly expands and reveals itself and just becomes a bigger and bigger song over the four minutes, with new layers always being added and making it the most wonderful musical portrait.
Single Stay With Me is the perfect ‘sad bop’ that is perfect for both dancing to and crying to (or doing both at the same time), and while Harriette has said she didn’t think she could put this track on the album at first, it’s a very good thing that she did because it’s a brilliant song, with incandescent synth and unstoppable rhythms to die for.
The album closes out with When I Get Out and Keep. The former has an incredible bassline underlying the track that hasn’t been heard yet on the album, and while in the lyrics she states, “I’m not a wonder,” this album suggests otherwise. The track also features a great guitar riff, although it is buried slightly under the layers. On Keep however the guitars really stand out, creating a very nostalgic sound that’s very euphoric, and just when you think the song is over, there’s more! What a closer.
Hatchie has created an incredible debut album that really makes you feel a number of feelings quite deeply: sadness, euphoria, nostalgia, tranquillity, peacefulness, happiness, and the urge to dance. The way it dances in between genres without making anything sound out of place is admirable, and while it will sometimes provoke deep feelings, on other plays it is an easy listen, and just overall a joy to listen to. Keepsake sparkles and shines, and so does Hatchie.