Photo credit: Jessica Hanley
I have seen Harriet Pilbeam, hiding under the catchy moniker of ‘Hatchie’, on numerous occasions. At first, it was in a shabby little backroom at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston and then, at Great Escape Festival in 2018. Now, watching her perform on the vast stage of the Roundhouse as she supports the beloved Vaccines, I realise how far she has come. For those less familiar with her work, Pilbeam previously dabbled in the music scene through her involvement with bands such as Babaganouj and The Go Violets. She entered the Brisbane music industry independently in 2017, with her release of Try. This shoegaze haze hooked the masses along with Pilbeam’s experimentation of mixing light, bubblegum pop melodies with more bassy, heavier instrumentals and production. This not only gained traction “down-under”, but within the UK as well. She signed with Ivy League Records, releasing her second single Sure. A year and a half, and two signings with Double Double Whammy and Heavenly Recordings later, Hatchie is absolutely killing it with her uplifting dream-pop hooks and synth-drenched soundscapes.
There is something enchanting about watching Pilbeam perform. Dressed in all black, sporting a chunky pair of Doc Martens with a tinny to hand, one would not expect to hear such dreamy vocals, that seem to come from an other-worldly pixie. Reminiscent of the golden age of Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer and The Cranberries’ very own Delores O’Riordan, Pilbeam delicately treads the line between angel and vixen. She gracefully glides between velvet-toned coo and a more throaty, confident vocal, expressing the longing and loss we have all experienced in the trials and tribulations of young love. It is these relatable and engaging elements of her songwriting that are what really managed to rile the crowd on this particular evening. It is incredibly difficult to precede a well-known and highly-respected band such as The Vaccines, as they have such a mass following. Usually surrounded by hipster millennials and craft beer, I was pleasantly surprised to see individuals from all walks of life: lads and ladettes desperate to start a mosh pit, older generations of women sporting official Vaccines merch to younger couples drowning in sweaty desire. All of which were seen swaying along to Hatchie. Pilbeam, known to take lyrical inspiration from a place of highly introspective andemotional awareness, turns her daydreams and contemplations into swirly, shimmery sounds about past relationships and friendships, pleasing the masses.
Arguably, Hatchie’s style is better suiter to the smaller, more intimate gigs. However, it is a pleasure to watch her progress and reach new levels of success. For me, Hatchie’s lyrics and floaty chords of jangle pop will remain as a dedication to the summer sun and will forever represent the anticipation and hopefulness of youth. Adored, her most recent ode to the turbulence of intimacy, is available to listen to on all major streaming platforms.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor