Album Review: Hannah Lou Clark – The Heart and All Its Sin EP

By on Wednesday, 22nd March 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Though she can’t be considered a relative newcomer (she put out her first EP back in 2014), Hannah Lou Clark is still in the process of building a name for herself. Now on her third EP, ‘The Heart And All Its Sin’, she’s taking things to the next level and presenting herself open and bare, something which can only aide her ascent. Pretty much dissecting various aspects of mostly the darker side of love, Hannah does it spectacularly with her own relation to these feelings rather than a fictional storytelling.

‘Matilda’ describes the support that relationships often require, especially around decision-making. She pleads “give me strength, help me out” during the introductory verse, while the crunching guitar fills the space around it, adding to the vulnerability of the statement. It’s when the chorus strikes that the track gains power and leads into bargaining statements of “I’ll be your lover, I’ll be your friend”, as if to buy a guarantee for the help needed. As mentioned previously, the music reinforces the emotional weight behind what Clark is trying to convey, and it does so brilliantly, the chorus crashing in as if to back up the bargaining.

While the opener may go into the vulnerable side, following track ‘Don’t Sweat It’ takes things to a more desire-filled place. Perhaps backing this up most is the pre-chorus line “champagne takes the edge off me, I cling to you like a baby”, where inhibitions are forgotten thanks to a bubbly pal, like we’ve all needed it. The music has a groove that insinuates the looseness that comes with such activities: drums roll around the musical space while the guitars are still sharp, representing the deep-set desires.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JDU1K_A52U[/youtube]

Going from the carnal to the delicate, ‘We’re Rich’ is billed as a “love song…pure and simple”, and that couldn’t be more of an accurate description. In case the title didn’t give enough away, it centres around the idea that fulfillment in life comes from the relationships and bonds we form, rather than the materialistic possessions that is built into our psyche by society. The track has it all: sparse guitars and a string accompaniment. Pretty deep stuff, and if it doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, then shame on you. ‘Grief Underneath’ takes all the above and turns it all into a secret you know you shouldn’t keep, which the ultimately tugs at your conscience. Portraying it with pounding drums and pretty much the same guitar sound as throughout, the complexities lie in the lyrics instead, where the psychosis that comes from betraying your morals takes precedence over common sense.

So finally, what happens when all of the above sins of love come together? You get ‘Torment Love’, where the sins take the love you’ve formed inside, making the whole a destructive burden. Letting the weight of the words once again do the talking while the guitar accompanies them with a solemn repetitive nature, phrases such as “let it wash me clean, bleach my soul, bleach my heart” bring the true nature of the EP’s theme to a head.

As with most singer/songwriter efforts, the real talent of the release lies in its words. Here, Hannah Lou Clark with much complexity, yet in a strangely relatable way, tells the dark side of love through her own words and experiences. The minimal musical arrangements – your basic guitar, bass and drums – do their duty as a background canvas for the words rather than as a distraction. A strong release from one of the better-sounding up-and-coming singer/songwriters.

8/10

‘The Heart And All Its Sin’, Hannah Lou Clark’s third EP, is out on Friday, the 24th of March, on Quatre Femmes Records/PIAS. To read more of TGTF’s past coverage on Clark, follow this link.

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