Single Review: Marika Hackman – Drown

By on Friday, 19th December 2014 at 11:00 am

Singer/songwriter Marika Hackman has recently announced the release of her debut LP ‘We Slept At Last’, which is due in February. Looking back at her prior collection of EP releases, including her seven-track outing ‘That Iron Taste’ from early 2013, it’s difficult to imagine why she hasn’t put together a full album before now. However, if the LP’s first single ‘Drown’ is any indication, the time she’s spent mulling over the details might translate into a set of songs well worth the long wait. Released on the 8th of December, ‘Drown’ immediately announces itself as being more complex and multi-faceted than standard singer/songwriter material. Despite her young age, Hackman has here displayed an already mature talent, lacing her darkly brooding lyrics with richly intricate and often unexpected musical elements.

Hackman’s lyrics are rife with metaphor and symbolism but nebulous enough to leave any concrete interpretation to the imagination of the listener. She sets up a clear rhyme scheme in the first verse, only to blur it in the second verse, and though the choruses are clearly stated, the song’s overall feeling is ethereal and elusive. The second verse in particular implies a hopelessly unrequited longing: “and I was born with a healthy appetite / for all that glisters white and pure in the night / I had to find your words, your heart / well, where can I start?”

The ambient sound of the song’s introduction is at clear odds with the gentle rocking of the acoustic guitar entrance, providing an early hint of the internal conflict that will play out in the lyrics. The lugubrious, deliberately lethargic vocal melody has an interesting chromatic flavor that clearly suggests an intricate art or folk song aesthetic rather than the usual straightforward tonality of singer/songwriter fare. Open harmonies between the double-tracked vocal parts give an impression of vast emptiness, and the dramatic gradual layering of the instrumental arrangement builds to an unavoidable sense of doom when the low strings come in at the end.


The disturbingly literal, yet somehow graceful video for ‘Drown’ by Marika Hackman can be viewed below. The single version of the track is available now via Dirty Hit Records, or you can receive it as an instant download when you pre-order ‘We Slept At Last’, which drops the 16th of February 2015.


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