It’s taken me a while to listen to this album, but it was everything I expected after hearing the slew of pre-released singles. “I want to change with each record, and experiment with each release, right from the start,” Marika Hackman said in a recent interview with The Guardian as she spoke of the creative freedom she felt when writing her debut album We Slept At Last. The album, recorded at London’s Iguana Studios and produced by long-term collaborator Charlie Andrew, was written within the space of two months, as Hackman used this short window as a means of capturing personal feelings of restlessness or anxiety into a singular body of work where the “I” was always her own self. As the opening track “Drown,’ slowly builds into a rousing first track Hackman declares: “Oh I am old/as bronze posing as gold/you can shine me all you want/but I am hard as I am cold”. “Open Wide” and “Skin” capture a sensual sway that make both tracks a night-time staple. They are slow melodies with a dark, creepy tone that allow for a momentary loss of awareness. Songs like “Before I Sleep”, “Undone, Undress” and “Monday Afternoon” evoke a whole different sentiment. They are more restrained. They float instead of creep, and they are lovely minimal, soulful and simple. Glamorously morose, Marika Hackman is a hypnotic addition to the ranks of glowering female singer-songwriters, constructing sparse mood pieces of diamond-cut melody and medieval battle drum that seem designed to summon armies of crows. Think somewhere between Syd Barrett and Nico.
Take a listen to the meticulously crafted We Slept At Last below. You don’t hear many debut LPs that are this good throughout, so definitely make sure you grab your copy of the record on iTunes today.