ALBUM REVIEW: Hatchie’s ‘Keepsake’ Isn’t Worth Holding Onto

The Aussie dream-pop singer’s ’90s-soaked debut is too much pop and not enough dream.

You know that feeling when you think you’ve never heard an artist before, but it turns out you’ve actually been listening to them inadvertently for months?

This was my experience with Australian singer-songwriter Hatchie and her debut album, Keepsake. Throughout my listening, I kept thinking her voice was similar to one I’d heard before, but couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the track. It was just in my head as ‘the perfect track to play over the end credits of a ’90s high school film.’

Keepsake is a clean, straightforward dream-pop album, with each track filling your ears with airy guitars and echoey vocals. Album opener “Not That Kind” sets us off on the right note, with a great mix of guitars and synths. I’ll be expecting some of this song to play very well to a soaring summer sky come festival season.

The problem with Keepsake is it’s quite one-note. Hatchie has been described as having a shoegaze type quality to her music, but shoegaze and dream pop works best when the production allows you to slip between the notes, forgetting all sense of time. 

The production is overstuffed, without room to lose yourself in the music. These tracks are ready for radio, but that comes at the expense of their immersiveness. 

As the album concluded, I was wracking my brain to figure out what track I was thinking of. It turns out it was the title track off her 2018 EP Sugar & Spice.  If Hatchie had held onto the same ’90s dream-pop vibe for this album, Keepsake would have been a much more rewarding listening experience.

Score: 😴😴/5 

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