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HATCHIE Sugar & Spice gets 9/10

Sugar & Spice
Ivy League Records


Harriette Pilbeam, who goes by the stage name of Hatchie, is one of dream pop’s biggest rising stars at the moment. Her first single, Try, got a lot of attention last year and since then she’s built on that with more acclaimed releases and now her debut EP Sugar & Spice, which is definitely a whole lot more sugar than spice.

The EP opens with Sure, featuring swirling guitar melodies that pick you up right from the start and take you to another place, a place where you can happily stay for the duration of the release. The track details falling in and out of the same relationship issues, and like all of the tracks on the EP, it’s where Pilbeam’s lyricism shines. The chorus is simple, yet a great earworm, and the repeated “Do you even think about me?” in the bridge is another moment that demonstrates this. If some of the other tracks on the EP are the ‘sugar’, all the nice parts of being in love, then this track is definitely the ‘spice’, the heartbreak. It’s a great opening track that really sets listeners up for what follows.

Next is Sleep, which is another example of how simple yet catchy Pilbeam’s lyrics can be. The combination of the dreamy, shimmery soundscape, whilst talking about sleep and dreams is peak dream pop. Yet again, the song’s bridge steals the show, with Pilbeam showing off her vocals whilst singing, “Tell me what’s on your mind? Are you leaving me behind? Do you feel what I feel? Is it buried deep inside?” It’s a brief bittersweet moment in an otherwise very sweet song. It’s like she is taking a moment to reflect, or overthink, like a brief moment where she’s unsure about the future of the relationship discussed. This projects some great realness into the song—no one ever just dives in head first, there’s always some overthinking and some times where you might feel unsure.

The EP’s titular track Sugar and Spice is also one of its catchiest. It’s another very bittersweet song, with the line “You don’t call me baby anymore” providing that dose of realness this time around. Lines like “Maybe you should take a lesson from the moon on how to handle all eyes on you” really reinforce this dream pop idea, and completely match the soundscape that Pilbeam is presenting. A simple yet effective guitar solo adds a lot to the song, acting as a bridge between two parts to build up expectations for it’s closing. Listeners are rewarded with the brilliant line “The brightest stars burn out the fastest, but maybe we could still outlast it all”. You’re still in the place the song first took you with it’s swirling guitars, and it’s looking like a nice place to stay.

Next up on the EP is Try, which was the first single released by Hatchie. It’s so easy to fall in love with, which is probably the reason why Hatchie was catapulted from triple j unearthed to Pitchfork in such a short amount of time. Once again Pilbeam writes a simple yet effective chorus and one that easily tugs at your heart strings, especially when she launches into the line “If only I could turn back time, I would”. The way the song builds and layers at the end is also great. It’s so easy to see how Hatchie caught the world’s attention with this song.

Hatchie saved the best until last on this EP, with closer Bad Guy being the highlight of the release. This is the only unreleased track on the EP, and it’s definitely worth the wait. It starts with such a nice riff, and again creates a dreamy soundscape for Pilbeam’s beautiful vocals to float over. Lyrically this is also the best track on the EP, with the chorus moving to something slightly less simple, and the structure moving a little away from the classic verse-chorus layout. Pilbeam still keeps one of the most effective aspects of her songwriting alive though, with a catchy bridge packing a powerful punch, stating “You never really wanted to talk anyway”. This song also channels the same  ‘spice’ of the opening track espousing the heartbreaking aspects of love, and it feels like we’ve come full circle. If Try tugged at your heartstrings, then this track tugs even harder.

Hatchie’s Sugar & Spice takes you to a lovely, dreamy state of mind and allows you to stay there for the duration of the EP. It’s filled with great songwriting that capitalises on simple yet effective melodies, which can hold a lot of meaning to a listener. This is an EP that you can smile and sing along to or cry to, depending on your mood. It’s full of lines that will become your favourite, and you will definitely fall in love with at least one of the tracks.


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