Hazel English - Wake Up! [Limited Clear Red Color Vinyl Record]
"Sometimes I feel like we're just sleepwalking through our lives. We're not really present." Hazel English wants us to open our eyes. Through her shimmering, daydream-pop, the California based singer-songwriter is on a mission to rattle the cages of our very existence, asking us to dig deep and ask challenging questions of ourselves. Wake Up!, her debut album, is a call to arms: an attempt to "make people become more aware and mindful," she says.
Where her double EP was very much a lo-fi, bedroom-produced record, English left her home setup behind in favor of roomy recording studios and tapped up session players for her debut. Bigger, lusher, and more live-sounding, the LP shows a new side to English: one that conveys the joy and excitement of collaboration. Drawing from a more grandiose sonic palette while pulling on the same sun-kissed thread of her previous work, half of the record was made in LA with super-producer Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX, Angel Olsen), while English flew to Atlanta to work with Ben H. Allen (Deerhunter, M.I.A, Animal Collective) on the other half.
Listening to the record, it should come as no surprise that Revolver-era Beatles, The Mamas & The Papas, The Zombies and Jefferson Airplane were all at the forefront of her mind while recording. "Radical messages need a raw and vibrant backdrop to pop," she says, and she's kept her trademark sunshine-filled sound that fits her L.A. dwelling, but with bigger, stirring choruses. It's a testament to English's writing style and ear for a hook that she won't make anything that she couldn't play stripped back to its bones, refusing to rely on production to carry a song.
Standouts like the infectious "Off My Mind" and "Like A Drug," with its swirling hypnosis, find English's songcraft at its most accomplished. Lead single "Shaking" wears its ‘60s psych influences on its paisley patterned sleeve and tackles themes of power, lust, manipulation, pleasure, and control.
- Born Like
- Wake UP!
- Off My Mind
- Five and Dime
- Like A Drug
- Milk and Honey
- Work It Out
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