“Music to get lost in.”
King Hannah quickly made a name for themselves with their 2020 EP, Tell Me Your Mind And I'll Tell You Mine, and their debut single, Crème Brûlée, established vocalist Hannah Merrick, with her smoky vocal delivery and raw lyrical prowess, as confident singer out of the gate.
Led by Merrick and Craig Whittle, the Liverpool songwriting duo are joined by Ted White, Jake Lipiec, and Olly Gorman to fill out their fuzzed-out, cinematic sound. King Hannah's debut album, I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me, is the definition of bold.
The group weaves the sounds and storytelling of Americana artists with shoegaze and trip-hop. The album isn’t all darkness and adventures across the countryside, though: there are moments of levity. On the addictively heavy Big Big Baby, Merrick expresses the urge to watch a former friend or ex choke on a dumpling. Go-Kart Kid (HELL NO!) can’t be as menacing as it sounds when a dog chews a bicycle handlebar.
Whittle explains in press releases that they’re not a band to take themselves too seriously, despite how sophisticated their music sounds. As fans of Aussie icon Courtney Barnett, King Hannah are keen on balance: “Maybe things are really, really shit, but you can laugh about it too.”
On hypnotic track The Moods That I Get In, Merrick keeps up the humour with the line, “If you do not like what I’m singing about / Well, then you really do not have to listen / You can just turn me off." The track is a slow-burner, and like much of the album, it's music to get lost in. The interludes continue the dreamy vibe that melds past with present sounds.
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Album closer It's Me And You, Kid, starts muffled and acoustic before the band changes gears to a Creep-like climax; defeated chant and wicked guitar sound to boot. It's a stark difference to the opener, A Well-Made Woman, which alongside Foolius Caesar are inspired by Portishead’s Dummy’s sleek melodies and memorable beats.
While the album isn't anything revolutionary when you're familiar with trip-hop and alternative rock, King Hannah exceeds expectations. Hopefully, I'm Not Sorry changes today's rock music just like PJ Harvey did in the ‘90s.