Hannah McPhillimy is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. Having come on to the radars of many last year with an impromptu performance at Forfey she has just gone from strength to strength. Since last year she has supported David C Clements at the Empire Music Hall, supported the Emerald Armada, recorded an EP and sold out the launch night at McHughs.
In Debut EP Seeing things Hannah brings out her flawless fusion of Jazz and Folk with a performance that seems to ebb and flow seamlessly through dynamics, as well as between band arrangements (‘Take Care’ and ‘Still Lake/Blue Fire’) and simply Hannah and her Ukulele (‘Homecoming’ and ‘Kindness’). Both I find just as equally enchanting and engaging. Ep opener “Wilderness” draws me in every time I listen to it and by the 2nd verse I find myself holding on to every word as Hannah sings “In the wilderness, Oh Lord there’s loneliness, but there’ll be comfort like you’ve never ever known.” The piano chords and the walking bass set up the EPs jazzy sound right from the outset.
‘Still Lake/Blue Fire’ is one of the highlights from this EP. Hannah told Chordblossom during her Introducing feature that she “started exploring songwriting when she was in her mid-teens –but due to sheer terror…” she didn’t perform or record until she was 22. Therefore her statement “This is how I see things” at the beginning of the song is a reflection perhaps that in this last year she is no longer terrified to express how she sees things?
‘Kindness’ is the first of 2 songs Hannah plays with her Ukulele. This song on the surface exudes innocence, this may be down to the instrumentation but also the request “Human kind, be kind to me.” However this innocence does not breed naivety but only charm.
‘Take Care’ possibly provides for me the most beautiful moment on the EP but also the biggest turnaround from the verse with a quick tempo, to the chorus which contains layered harmonies and a string accompaniment over the lyrics “See they don’t know this about me, cause I smile though I bleed internally, and when I can’t breathe- I still speak.” A feeling that all too many can relate to even if they never say. ‘Homecoming’ is the final song on the EP. Written about the Prodigal Son story it is the 2nd song with just the Ukulele. The final line of the EP says “Will there be a Welcome here?”
I set out to write this review intending not to pick out a favourite song from the EP as I change my mind on a fairly regular basis. This EP has been a permanent resident in my car for the last 2 months,however as someone who has been raised on a musical diet (Shamefully) of S Club 7, X Factor and many other 4 chord songs that have graced the charts, it took me a few listens to latch on to Hannah’s musical style and connect with it. But in a world dominated by the likes of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, to repeat my opening statement, Hannah McPhillimy is nothing less than a breath of Fresh Air.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Take Care ▶
◀ CONNECTION ⁞ Feist | Daughter ▶