SXSW Music Review: Hatchie

Harriette Pilbeam’s Aussie newcomers refresh shoegaze

A balmy Friday evening on Rainey Street at Lucille offered the optimal setting for getting lost in Hatchie’s immersive set at the Secret Sounds’ showcase.

Photo by Jana Birchum

The lineup offered a total mish-mash of sonics, from the mellowed rock of openers Totally Mild to the throwback soul of bona fide breakouts the Teskey Brothers’ and Mallrat’s pulsating earworms, linked only by the artists’ Australian origins.

Hatchie’s 9pm set came off the most enticing, even if punctured by sporadic, screeching feedback. Otherwise, an enveloping half-hour emitted lush, gauzy, glimmering pop. Solo project of Brisbane multi-instrumentalist Harriette Pilbeam, her live quartet plied effervescent mood music sans moodiness, a sweet hopefulness permeating the thick walls of sound.

Bathed in purple lights and opening with a jangly, unreleased track that stitched together the forlorn (“you don’t call me baby anymore”) with airy layers of reverb, the group dove straight into its own iteration of atmospheric Eighties shoegaze. Pilbeam navigated the dense instrumentation with a lilting, weightless voice reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan.

“I know you wanna try, I can feel it in your sigh,” she insisted on the hook of shimmering “Try,” her debut single, a “will we, won’t we?” break-up ode. Closer “Sure,” Hatchie’s latest single, constructed an alternate reality that imagined the Cranberries’ “Linger” as a Cocteau Twins tune – a twinkling, hopeful pop song of uncertain love delivered with the ethereal detachment of the latter artist’s trademark sound.

Hatchie’s only released two singles, with an EP due out sometime this year on boutique Brooklyn label Double Double Whammy (home to Austinites Hovvdy and Lomelda). Friday, that meant the only recognizable material was broken up by welcome peeks at what’s forthcoming: a refreshment of shoegaze’s starry lineage.

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Hatchie, SXSW Music 2018, Harriette Pilbeam, Totally Mild, Teskey Brothers, Mallrat, Secret Sounds, Cranberries, Cocteau Twins, Dolores O’Riordan, Hovvdy, Lomelda

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