The debut album from South East London based indiepop band The Hannah Barberas manages not only to bring a smile to one’s face in these testing times but to get one thinking hard too.
Some of the tracks are familiar friends but now sound even more settled in their new home! The frantic with worry but eventually joyous Our Girl is Gone was on their debut EP whilst Slow Cooked, originally on their second EP, still sounds magnificent and deserves a wider audience as possible. Hurry On Home appeared on Dial H for Hannah Barberas and is C86 inspired indiepop wrapped up in a nutshell. And I Like You In Blue is a gorgeous as ever. The vocals always gets my hair on the back tingling.
As for the new tracks opener Breakout sets the tone with it’s feel good vibes which slowly dissipates as the album continues. I Can’t Go Outside, an appropriate title if any during the current lockdown, is actually about anxiety whilst Almost Falling In Love could well be inspired by the stories of police spies illegally infiltrating anti-capitalist groups forming relationships with women who had no clues to their identities. Moving onto happier times and I really hope Ted Wedding is inspired one of the bands parents. The track tells the tale of a girl marrying a teddy boy much to her parents displeasure! No surprise about the rock ‘n’ roll feel on this one.
Indiepop and politics have long been synonymous but remarkably absent in recent times. However, it’s something the band have not shied away from previously and they cover various topics in their songs. The anti-flag waving What Are You Celebrating? is a damning indictment of how the Tories run this country even before the Covid-19 crisis. Foreign Ways sums up the frustrations of an EU citizen/immigrant following Brexit and the increase in xenophobia given a platform by said vote. Luckily us Londoners have always been a tolerant bunch and it’s a big “Welcome Here” from the band.
What I like about The Hannah Barberas is that they are not afraid to speak (sing) their minds. They discard the lovey-dovey image indiepop sometimes presents and their lyrics betray the twee influences behind their music. Sometimes I like a dose of realism, sometimes I like heartfelt love songs (No Mystery, Into The Wild). Thankfully The Hannah Barberas deliver both on Into The Wild which is no doubt a contender for one of the Top 10 albums of 2020. Giving it a listen is the least you can do.