Album Review: hannah wyatt – underground

I’ve been writing about folk music for over 12 years now and this is one of the most intimate acoustic recordings I have heard in that time. Hannah Wyatt has created an intimate, beautiful album that invites the listener into her emotional space with a special style of vocal and songwriting. Fans of acoustic folk music and sincere songwriting in the vein of Anna Tivel will find a lot to love about this album.

The opening track of underground, the newest folk singer songwriter release from Hannah Wyatt, is titled “stop signs.” It has a thoughtful, almost dreamlike acoustic style to it. The effect on the vocal allows it to resonate with a beautiful, engaging style.

The second track “agneau” feels much more experimental than the opening. The vocal has a bit of a muted quality to it and the string work is more avant garde. That said, it will have an appeal for fans of more artful folk music.

The following “underground” is the title track for the album, of course, but it also has an interesting meaning with a nuclear threat (i.e. underground bomb shelters). The line, “you’ll be dead before you even hear the sound.” It’s macabre, sure, but it’s also not quite that far fetched from reality. It’s unsettling yet beautiful at the same time. It’s a deeply human experience to listen to this song.

The penultimate track “icebox” has a haunting whispering vocal that feels more like a scary movie soundtrack than a typical singer songwriter tune. It definitely requires a bit more of an avant garde taste, yet there’s a peacefulness in the piano and atmospheric element that even if you can’t quite make out the lyrics you can enjoy the track.

The final track “brand new phonograph” has a soft, quiet banjo element. The lyrical style is a bit quicker. Something about it reminds me of a poem more than a traditional folk song (in the best way). Wyatt’s writing style varies on each song, including this last track with its own unique pattern of lyrical expression.

This album is sure to resonate with fans of folk music with a variety of tastes. Some tracks are more traditional while others are more experimental. There’s a little something for everyone here, with fans of great vocals and thoughtful writing being the real winners.

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