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Live Review: Step into Hatchie's neon dream with 'Sure'

8 December 2017 | 1:26 pm | Kyle Fensom

Hatchie perfectly marries shimmering pop with the lo-fi haze of shoegaze in the video for her sophomore single, 'Sure'.

In an age where lyric videos are becoming increasingly normalised, where mostly irrelevant music videos are being chucked onto Youtube to drive up chart positions, it’s refreshing to see an artist perfectly marry visuals and sound into a cohesive whole. This is exactly what Brisbane artist HATCHIE (aka Harriette Pilbeam) achieves with the equally misty and shimmering video for her new single, ‘Sure’.

Sumptuous layers of twin acoustic and electric guitars, glimmering synths and a steady backing beat lay the bed for Hatchie’s harmonised, multi-tracked vocals to glide atop. The shoegaze and dream-pop influence of bands such as Slowdive are here, but in restrained, tasteful measures. Like the best of Disintegration-era Cure, the vocals sit far enough back in the mix that they melt into the instrumentation without ever growing completely inaudible. However, it’s Hatchie’s effortless melodies and pop smarts, which explode during the chorus, that set her apart from other dream-pop imitators. The visual treatment captures all of this – the luminousness of pop music, the ethereality of shoegaze.

Surrounded by walls of flickering TV sets and bathed in a neon, smoky haze, Hatchie and her band perform as her stare and stance confront the camera lens with a series of questions: “Why did you do it?” “How can I fix this?”. And, framed in the static of an old CRT Television sets, Hatchie delivers her final, affective mantra – “Do you even think about me?”. The lyrics might betray a crisis of confidence, but the video creates a space of her own to exist within.

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Here, Hatchie reunites with Joe Agius, the director and editor behind the video for her breakout single, ‘Try’, to expand on the lo-fi visuals of their earlier work. Although the video has a more staged or professional feel than ‘Try’, it’s still charmingly rough around the edges, retaining the 4:3 aspect ratio and DIY touches that made it so endearing. Every now and then, the camera will fall out of focus, shake or seem unable to settle on the right shot. It’s enough to keep you from feeling too distanced, but reminds you to step closer into Hatchie’s immersive neon dream.

The video is simple, but effective in all that its understatedly trying to achieve; Hatchie is building an aesthetic for herself. It’s the mark of an artist who resists the easy classification of an overnight success, but who has instead carefully refined her sound and artistry over years of quiet achievement.

Amidst all the haze, what’s most clear is that Hatchie understands the importance of constructing a brand and artistic identity early on in your career. It seems to say: I’m here now, don’t look away, because I’m not going anywhere. Having recently signed to Ivy League Records, and readying her debut EP for a 2018 release, we don’t doubt that she is either.

Image: Joseph Crackett/Only Odd for Purple Sneakers - peep the full gallery here.