Thursday, February 24th, 2022

Hatchie – Quicksand

No sinking feeling here…


Micha Cavaseno: Imagine, if you will, a world where Robin Guthrie wakes up. I can’t tell you what year it was that he shut his eyes, but the former Cocteau Twin has opened them to discover he’s sealed alive in the wax-tiling of a shopping mall, with the light of a Cinnabon blasting his corneas apart. Does the current Robin Guthrie know what a Cinnabon is? Would he have when they were around? Doesn’t matter. In this world he’s there, watching people walk atop him as if he’s a flat surface but he doesn’t feel flat, because his body is churning out the watery guitar he’s best known for from beneath this herringbone hell. Eventually he can spot a young woman who is inside the clear elevator shaft meant to take people up to the food court where a Sanrio Gifts shop is being shuttered close. Not the elevator though, the shaft. Because the shaft doesn’t have an elevator, it’s just a giant tube filled with water. And the girl is being attacked by eels made out of La Roux T-shirts from a tour back when this very mall he seems to be trapped in would’ve been so severely declined that the food court would be abandoned and half the stores shut down. Robin Guthrie doesn’t know how he got in this predicament, he’s not even sure when he is or which Robin Guthrie he is. But he knows somehow that this is the hell he deserves. A place known as… The Hatchie Zone.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: A safe and warm place to sink into when the perpetual pursuit of happiness feels like a trap. 

Alex Clifton: Evocative of neon lights reflecting off of disco balls, watching people dance in slow motion, and having a minor existential crisis while sipping a whiskey sour by the bar.

Katie Gill: Sometimes all you need is a perfectly serviceable, middle-of-the-road, catchy yet nondescript piece of music that in non-pandemic times, you could dance along to at the club. Congrats, Hatchie! You’ve achieved that much!

Alfred Soto: Serviceable electro-angst. No one tries hard, a blessing.

Thomas Inskeep: Hipster CRJ with a submerged-sounding bassline shouldn’t be this dull.

Ian Mathers: These days when someone is writing about The Perils of Success on a sophomore record it feels like it’s usually about haters, or worrying about staying atop the heap, or the way the rewards of that success can change you. The problems of success, not the problem of success itself. “Quicksand” focuses more on the way just putting in the work and seeing it pay off can, itself, still feel kinda like shit. Especially if you find yourself with the space to interrogate the drive that got you there in the first place; there’s no room for “I used to think that this was something I could die for/I hate admitting to myself that I was never surе” when you’re rising and grinding. There’s still a dreampop sparkle to the music but, more than before (even “This Enchanted”), you can feel the modern polish as well, and it can almost feel like the song is shifting into a representative of that perilous success, especially with the doubt and anger threaded through it all.

Vikram Joseph: Kind of a throwback, this, with moody, reverby verses paired with a chorus that would soar were it not for the gravitational pull of its yearning — I hear a bit of William Orbit c. 1998 and rather a lot of Dev Hynes c. 2012 (especially with Hatchie’s lower register bearing a resemblance to Sky Ferreira I hadn’t hitherto appreciated). The artfully muted, dream-pop-indebted production is still there, acting as a continuity thread from Keepsake, but “Quicksand” is a purposeful step towards alt-pop and plays to Hatchie’s considerable strengths as a vocalist and a songwriter — even if it never quite touches the deep euphoria of “Stay With Me.”

Leah Isobel: “It’s all I know/And I’m taking it back”: determination to stay the course despite doubt, or absolute submission to disillusionment? Hatchie never says. But the drums shatter her voice into pieces on the bridge, as if her warring impulses are grinding her deeper into subterranean machinery. The point is that there’s no point: you could fall forever and find there’s still further to go.

Reader average: [9.5] (2 votes)

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