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Hatchie - Keepsake Music Album Reviews

Hatchie's platonic ideal of dream pop goes down a bit too easy, like another rewatch of a John Hughes film.
Shoegaze offers the perfect place to bury bad feelings; there is a storied legacy of groups like Slowdive and Mazzy Star sinking Tory conservatism and post-breakup remorse into hazy swirls of distortion. Harriette Pilbeam uses Hatchie as an outlet for more quotidian concerns — friendships, romances, nostalgia. On her EP Sugar & Spice, Pilbeam offered glassy guitars, long sighs, and some bright choruses, but there was nothing darker beneath the surface to reward your close, ongoing attention. She promised a broader palette for her debut, but Keepsake feels hemmed in by the same lack of depth. Pillbeam's platonic ideal of dream pop goes down a bit too easy, like another rewatch of a John Hughes film.





Future - SAVE ME EP Music Album Reviews

His latest EP proves he’s still a master of melancholic detail, but thematically and sonically, the Atlanta superstar has hit a wall.

For better or worse, Future has released the same album for nearly five years now. Whether it’s the slightly-more-romantic HNDRXX or the slightly-more-polished BEASTMODE 2. It’s all made from the same recipe, one for an enticing dish that’s slowly started to worsen with each forkful. SAVE ME, a quick seven-song EP, is no different. While it proves that he’s still a master of melancholic detail, dissecting his self-inflicted misery with little jewels of profundity, there’s nothing new or groundbreaking here. Sonically and thematically, he’s hit a wall.

Which is a shame considering the project’s single, “Love Thy Enemies,” contains some experimental elements. Over wispy guitar strums that sound like they were ripped straight off a hard drive from the Blonde sessions and woodblock clicks, Future’s pitch-corrected moan is left to fend for itself and, as a result, feels more vulnerable, with each cry, coo and choke (he audibly coughs at one point) given space to sink in. “You wasn’t considerate to my feelin’/How am I explain this to my children?” he gripes.

The rest of the project is less ambitious. “Please Tell Me” is anchored by the same hissing flutes heard on his 2017 hit “Mask Off,” as well as any number of sparse trap songs of the moment (“Effortless” by Chicago upstart Polo G comes to mind). On “St. Lucia,” clever lines about his vices—“Tried to talk to the pastor, found out he doin' the same thing/ Been havin' a secret relationship on his main thing”—are tarnished by cardboard instrumentation, a puddle of melodic layers that fail to stand out. And “Government Official,” with its garden-variety hi-hats, lack of hook and low-mixed vocals, could be swapped out with any of Future’s archetypal bangers on Spotify and no one would notice.

While pockets of his songwriting remain both brilliantly petty and self-deprecating, the ignorance shown in others is tiresome and, even worse, boring at times, like he’s playing a caricature of himself. On the aforementioned “St. Lucia,” for example, he starts the chorus by crowing brazenly, “I’m a big dawg, I can fuck a bitch out in France now,” and kicks off his first verse with the leaden “I got one that's Chinese, she a ten/I made my Hong Kong girls wear snakeskin.”

At other points, he comes off plain lazy: “My wifi lit, ten thousand feet off the ground,” and, “Ten thousand feet up, we get wifi,” are two separate lines delivered on different songs not far from each other on the track list. This is after he included a song called “WIFI LIT” on last year’s BEASTMODE 2.

But maybe the toughest moment comes on the opener, the predictably titled “XanaX Damage,” which sounds half-finished. Strange gaps of silence are sprinkled throughout the mix, with a hard fadeout arriving only a minute and a half in, ending the track abruptly. It’s an otherwise beautiful song, with a tender guitar riff, pitched-down vocals and the most original hook of the project, with Future gently muttering, “Baby, when the sun is out, it's like I'm not myself.” It’s a flash of greatness bogged down by poor execution, which could stand as a theme for the EP as a whole.

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