A looped vintage drum machine clicks quietly and briefly on its own at the start of the new track by Hannah Lou Clark, ‘It’s Your Love’, but this isn’t one of the artist’s quieter, introverted songs. It immediately comes alive as Clark sings “hold my breath, count to 10, spit it out” against jagged guitar, pausing to reflect that her “mirror shows a weight of human frailty” before racing into the song’s anthemic if lyrically disturbing indie refrain: “It’s you love, your hand in the shape of a gun, it’s your love.”
Metaphors come thick and fast against rattling drums and punchy bass, dropping into a quieter middle eight and climaxing well within the pop-perfect length of three minutes. This Clark song is like a burst of her namesake Annie Clark in St Vincent at her most accessible.
‘Cowboy Joe’ again starts with Clark’s drum machine, but is slower than the title track, with a reverberating strangely-tuned guitar hook. “And I hope that in the morning, I can kick the habit,” sings Clark before the production slowly builds, and another guitar breaks into the track, deliberately interrupting the flow. Clark’s voice and the guitars play off each other, and the song moves toward a fuller sound until, by the end, it’s totally transformed into hard-riffing, headbanging indie rock, unrecognisable from the way it started.
The third song on the EP, ‘Euphoria’ was originally the first part of Clark’s debut outing as a solo musician — an untitled video on Youtube in February 2014 showing images of the house she lived in — recorded with ambient sounds such as birdsong. Revived for the EP, it feels like a traditional singer-songwriter piece for guitar and voice, until Clark plays experimentally with reverb, detuning, overdubbed voice, that ambient birdsong and little waves of synth.
“She’s drinking gin like mother’s milk, the oldest sins cast longer shadows,” Clark sings, and the track’s religious imagery looks back to the late 2014 ‘Silent Type’ debut EP. “Singing like a swan, swing low sweet chariot,” Clark intones over understated guitar reminiscent of Young Marble Giants. There’s enough on this EP and her debut to raise expectations of a rich and varied album from Clark when she gets time to record it.
‘It’s Your Love’ is released on 22nd April 2016 via Quatre Femmes
This Hannah Lou Clark article was written by Ian Bourne, a GIGsoup contributor