Marika Hackman
We Slept at Last


4.0
excellent

Review

by argonaut USER (18 Reviews)
June 6th, 2015 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An exceptional debut and one of the better folk releases of the year.

Marika Hackman is a young British singer-songwriter. She has released several EPs throughout the past few years, culminating in the release of We Slept At Last, her debut full-length album. Her music might be best described as dreamy singer-songwriter folk, with electronic traces in some areas.

Upon its release, We Slept At Last charted in the UK, which might suggest to some that this album is very pop-oriented. This is not the case, however. While reasonably accessible, there is very little in way of direct appeal to commercial success here. The generally slow pace and the often very dark lyrical themes of the songs all suggest an artist not particularly concerned with radio exposure. “Animal Fear” is the only song here which seems to be a potential charting single, with a strong beat and soaring melodies.

All of the album’s twelve songs are between two and four minutes in length. This uniformity is matched by their sound, which does not vary overly from track to track. That being said, this lack of deviation is far from a substantial problem. We Slept At Last is a cohesive listen which never loses the listener’s attention, helped in this regard by its reasonable runtime.

The key strength of the album is Hackman’s vocals. They take center stage in most songs, and for good reason. Regardless of one’s familiarity with female vocalists, it is quite easy to recognize Hackman’s natural ability. Hackman accentuates the power and gorgeousness of the songs here by not drawing excessive attention to her great voice, rather operating alongside the given song’s melody. This more withdrawn approach works exceptionally well. The musical accompaniment present on We Slept At Last is a bit less memorable, but is nonetheless generally pleasant and pretty. In all of the songs, acoustic guitar melodies are the predominant element supporting Hackman’s voice. Electronic influences make their presence known in a few places. Additionally, “Monday Afternoon” involves a flute as well. Drums are not ubiquitous, but can be heard on several tracks.

Lyrically, Hackman’s abilities on this album are admirable, if not particularly brilliant. The album lyrically deals primarily with dark themes of sadness and death, which provides an interesting juxtaposition with the serene vibe of the music. We Slept At Last certainly lacks any notably cringeworthy lines, which is a positive in and of itself. Besides, Hackman’s voice could make virtually any combination of words sound great.

We Slept At Last is a generally consistent release, and the similar sound of many songs here limits the number of standout tracks. Nonetheless, there are a few songs which may well be viewed as highlights. “Monday Afternoon”, with its more bucolic folk feel, is certainly one. The opener, “Drown”, is also exceptional, and proves to be a fantastic way to introduce the listener to the album. “Before I Sleep” a particularly gorgeous track with a melancholy vibe, also stands out positively. This is not to dismiss any of the other tracks, though, even if a few might be a bit less memorable.

The overall mood of this album is interesting. In some ways, it is reminiscent of Vashti Bunyan’s music, with its placid and relaxing nature. That being said, though, there are differences. The electronic elements give We Slept At Last a more modern and less pastoral sense. Additionally, the frequent darkness of Hackman’s lyrics make the songs here much more downhearted, and less reassuring, than the music would initially suggest. Nonetheless, though, this album is well-made for relaxation, even if it might be surprisingly bleak in places.

Ultimately, this album reveals Marika Hackman’s tremendous talent, and seemingly accomplishes quite well what she was attempting with this release. All that can be said is that We Slept At Last is an album which deserves a wide audience and which, with any justice, should end up on many best-of-2015 lists.



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user ratings (56)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
YakNips
June 6th 2015


20100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review and good album

JamieTwort
June 6th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Props for reviewing this.



Love it. Definitely among my favourites of the year so far.





Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 6th 2015


70242 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

over-zelous 5 worthy

argonaut
June 6th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. Yeah, it's great stuff.

Ryus
June 6th 2015


36906 Comments


sweeet

NorthernSkylark
June 6th 2015


12134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

agreed

argonaut
June 6th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks everybody.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 6th 2015


70242 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

5 it pussies

argonaut
June 7th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha, that's the spirit.

PappyMason
June 7th 2015


5702 Comments


I just realised that her brother is the UK producer Hackman. Interesting.

Album sounds really interesting though, I need to have a listen.

argonaut
June 7th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@PappyMason, yeah, give it a try. And I wasn't aware of that, so interesting.

NorthernSkylark
June 7th 2015


12134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'll bump it. animal fear is still my fave

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 7th 2015


70242 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good boy







RadicalEd
July 25th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very very good album.

JamieTwort
July 25th 2015


26988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very good indeed.

argonaut
July 26th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to jam this again, been a while.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 26th 2015


70242 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

cant have been that long

Thibs
October 30th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Animal fear is a damn good song

zakalwe
December 23rd 2015


38934 Comments


This is bloody lovely

NorthernSkylark
December 23rd 2015


12134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yup top 5 stuff



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