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Album Review

by Bachelorette

Drag City

Review Date
30th August
Reviewed by
Brannavan Gnanalingam

Annabel Alpers’ final album under the name Bachelorette is a fitting sign-off for the brilliant Christchurch artist. Her first album, the aching and introspective Isolation Loops, and second album, My Electric Family, a darker, more mechanical sounding record, were both great albums. The third, expresses a bit more world-weariness than usual (surprising given the darkness of My Electric Family), and when she signs off via the existentialist angst in ‘Not Entertainment’, it’s hard not to want her to look back one day and realise ‘I was pretty damn good’. It’s a tightly coiled album, maybe a little too claustrophobic at points (it’s certainly not an easy listen, emotionally or aesthetically), but it’s completely thrilling.

But like her other two LPs, it’s an album that takes a bit of time. But it slowly reveals its treasures. Highlights include the swirly, shoegazer-y ‘Grow Old With Me’ and the fragile ‘Light Seekers’, which get the album off to a great start – Bachelorette’s use of loops and subtle textures underneath these loops work their usual magic. ‘Blanket’ is a great fuzz-pop, dance-floor filler - if lyrics like “the only way to see you is through the hole in my chest” would compel people to dance. It’s a great track, as her emotionally blunt lyrics merge with a terrific arrangement. The delicate loops of ‘Sugarbug’, the unconventional vocal performance in ‘The Last Boat’s Leaving’, and the soaring ‘Tui Tui’ provide a strong centre to the album. The brilliant ‘Digital Brains’ features intricate rhythms, as if it’s about to collapse on top of itself, but never quite managing to do so. The music washes over her self-pitying lyrics in ‘Not Entertainment’ – an almost fitting ending for an artist whose surprising arrangements, loops, and general trickery have often hidden blunt lyrics, the music making up for her shyness as a vocalist.

Bachelorette features the typical unpredictable sounds and textures that have typified her work. The lyrics are wise and intelligent – ranging from an acceptance of mortality, a chastisement of the futility (or privilege) of making music, to the intricacy of memory. It’s a restless album, freer perhaps than the previous two works, perhaps even less naïve (perhaps mirroring the album’s construction as a ‘traveller’). While some critics appeared to have taken umbrage at Bachelorette’s supposed lack of a human connection – her music is fiercely alive; the care and intricacy in her craft is affirming to listen to - even if Bachelorette is writing her own eulogy.


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