Review: Hannah Peel’s Fabricstate

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IMG_9361Hannah Peel took the third position in CWNL’s Top 10 Songs of 2013, as we highlighted an excellent song from her Nailhouse EP. With the release of Fabricstate, a four-track EP, Peel is early off the mark to chart again this year.

It’s not just that the record is pressed in red vinyl, mirroring the colour of her hair; nor that it contains Chloe, the award-winning song already heard in a British television production – the thing that sets Fabricstate apart is that it is infused with distillates of folk music but is a thoroughly modern musical cocktail. Take the title track, which begins with a piano accompaniment, but quickly develops a martial rhythm underpinned by Test Dept-esque metal, before razor-sharp sawtooth waveforms come in. Peel’s voice has a delicate quality, which sits against the more dangerous sounds of the instrumental track, setting them off by highlighting just the slightest hint of menace. Folk music for urban living, let’s call it.

Another song, Desolation Row, builds up with an anthemic quality that could fill a stadium in a live outing, but it is restrained on record by the use of strings and brass that are intimate, rather than bombastic. It’s a hard balance to maintain, but Peel keeps the tension going while showing off her ability to add power to her vocals when necessary. It could be a radio hit or remixed for clubs, but it’s going to sound best sung-along to by a large audience.

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