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Live Review: Airling's captivating long-awaited debut album, 'Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream' hits all the right notes

3 May 2017 | 8:29 am | Freya Dinesen

Brisbane's electronic pop songstress AIRLING (Hannah Shepherd) has at last released her debut full-length album Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream.

Brisbane's electronic pop songstress AIRLING (Hannah Shepherd) has at last released her debut full-length album Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream. The release comes after months of teasers and single releases including ‘Give Me All You Got’ and ‘Not A Fighter’.

Produced by Tom Iansek and co-written with bandmate Graham Ritchie, this first full-length LP marks nearly three years on the music scene for Airling, and features collaborations with Iansek, Fractures and Emma Louise.

'Hard To Sleep, Easy To Dream' is the acme of a lifetime of stories and years of hard work, Airling shares:

"These songs and stories have been a big part and a product of me getting to know life, death and myself - while at the same time expressing myself to others. Aligning my thoughts and emotions with songs and words. Trying to live life free of fear while still acknowledging its existence and exploring its pain. Learning to love myself so I can explore my ability to love others and my potential to create. I am insanely proud of this record."

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The album weaves Shepherd's elusive, mesmerising vocals with temperate beats and vacillating electronic production, offering an array of compositions that exhibit a diversity of silky and punchier breaks.

A spoken word introduction recreates an invitation to meditate, encouraging the listener to swim down into the depths of the music and let its waves wash over. Carefully curated to support the ebbs and flows of varying song dynamics and instrument timbres, all 14 tracks beautifully segue into one another to support the notion of the album.

Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream’s massive track offering is tactfully segmented by two small interludes to both reflect upon and transition between the album’s inspirations: love and lust, death and loss, and the emotional passage we have when these things are brought into our lives.

These themes torrent through the LP as it swings from passionate ballads to gallant, emotive narratives. Airling’s independent compositions delicately concrete the anthology’s subjects and notions, while the collaborated tracks bring further nuance and vitality to the music.

This album is a product of poignant writing and exceptional production, highlighting the splendour of Shepherd’s wistful vocals to submerge the listener into this wondrous, melancholic saga.

Hard to Sleep, Easy to Dream is out now via Pieater. Upcoming tour dates and information can also be found here.