Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Sydney artist Annie Hamilton's debut EP has come at last. From her days in Little May to a now florescent solo career Hamilton has demonstrated a talent for authentic musicality steeped in emotion and edge. The self titled EP contains six songs that are marked by intense intimacy and yet are universal to listeners.
The EP couldn't have started better than with 'Fade'. Hamilton's compelling vocals rides a wave of driving instrumentation that's simulatenously a fresh breeze, yet an electrifying storm. With a swelling soundstage its a song that's unquivocably energising - something that would be at home on a season finale trailer.
"'Fade' was the first song I released. It came together so effortlessly - I wrote it one night several years ago and never felt the need to tweak....everything just fell into place and worked (that rarely happens for me). I wanted it to have the same powerful wall-of-sound feeling as one of those huge Sigur Ros songs, to feel as if this unrelenting sense of longing is crashing around and building inside your head and you can’t make it stop" says Hamilton.
'Kitchen' strikes hard with a feeling of gritty optimism dished out amongst sunbaked guitars yet it betrays a deeper message of perspectives vs. reality.
"I wrote 'Kitchen' while living in a tiny town in the north of Iceland on a residency...I’d often just sit there and stare out the window at the clouds rolling down the hills. I found that isolation made me acutely aware of all the slight changes in my environment - autumn became winter, the days became shorter and darker and the sun would rise slowly...This is a song about perception and memory and nostalgia, and the tricks our minds play on us when we are alone".
'My New Tattooed Chameleon' follows with fuzzy brilliance. With nostalgic nonsense it injects attitude into its turn of the century punk-drama vibe.
"I wrote this song one night in late 2018. It came out quickly and spontaneously...it instantly had this feeling of dreamy nostalgia. When the line ‘but I felt like an alien, my new tattooed chameleon’ came out, I laughed and thought to myself something along the lines of ‘well that’ll never end up in the final song because it doesn’t make any sense’ but the longer I left it the more sense it made as the rest of the song revealed itself. I ended up using the first demo take of the vocals, synths and a lot of the guitar parts in the final mix, as every time I tried re-recording them ‘properly’ in the studio they lacked the magic of the first take".
In spite of its name 'Californian Carpark Concrete' takes an impassioned approach that's more indie-rock anthem than introspective shoegaze. "This is a song about the constant and unfaltering passage of time," which is evident from its resonating rhythmic pulse that must sound incredible in live performance. "I had been travelling a lot at the time and I think that hypnotic sense of driving for hours down an unending highway creeps through. It’s a song about fear and persistence and just ‘keeping going’ even if you don’t feel like you’re making any progress". Its a song that somehow makes carpark concrete sound far-flung and exotic, before poigantly fading into the distance like a car along a dark highway.
In 'Oxygen' Hamilton's voice darts effortlessly between the delicate and the bold.
There's a comforting twang thats lifted up by a heavier harmony that really encompasses that suffocating feeling of regret.
"I wrote Oxygen one afternoon after unexpectedly bumping into an old flame. It’s about trying to work through the mix of regret and relief, to come out the other side and accept that everything happens for a reason. I knew the recording was going to hit the spot when we were tracking guitars and we recorded that organ sound (which is actually me picking the chords on the guitar as Pete Covington [my co-producer] adjusted the settings on some of my pedals) and it sounded so sad and heart-wrenching that Pete’s tiny chihuahua Tank started howling".
'Panic' is the finale that switches gears - its about "chanelling your anxiety into creativity - letting it push you to dive a little deeper or in a different direction to where you otherwise would’ve gone".
Hamilton reminds us of artists like Hope Sandoval yet rather than being idly withdrawn Hamilton instead lets out a cascade of sounds and emotion. In this debut EP Annie Hamilton has succesfully turned both the vulnerability and mundanity of life into shining gold.
“When I started writing these songs I didn’t think anyone would hear them – it was an intensely private experience, writing only for myself, for my own creative fulfilment and desire. As the project has evolved over time, I’ve always come back to this as the underlying motivation – to follow my gut, trust my instincts and to not let the fear of external pressure or judgement influence my music.”