‘Balancing power and reflection, it delivers the perfect reminder of Hannah’s musical versatility.’
Intro to Hannah Scott:
Releasing her incredibly strong, folk centred debut EP ‘Still Static’ back in 2012, it should come as little surprise that since then Hannah Scott has followed up with a plethora of high quality tracks. However, what may come as a surprise, is the vast contrast between that EP and her most recent album ‘Pieces of the Night.’ To put it simply, you could easily think they were by two different artists! This said, in building on and balancing the power and evocation contained within those releases, ‘Walk a Wire’ (out 26th April) delivers proof of just how versatile Hannah’s musicality really is.
Opening with a wonderful combination of strummed acoustic guitar, piano and delicately reverb-affected vocals, there is a sense of growth and warmth to the sound of Hannah’s latest track. Set beautifully in the mid-pitch of her vocal range – one that sounds effortless in all ways – the initial line of ‘You chose your road’ hints at the emotional lyricism and musical journey of the track. As beginnings go it’s reserved, but equally feels incredibly strong. However, that feeling is about to become clearer.
Building on the inferred strength of just now, on reaching the second half of the first verse, a switch from inference to literal occurs. Changing rather dramatically, the calming sensation generated in the opening moments moves from softness to confidence. Instrumentally giving us accented drums and syncopated, harmonically based counter-melodies it really is quite the contrast. However, while there is no doubting the musical power, with Hannah moving seamlessly into her higher range, there is also no doubting the level of her vocal skills.
Pushing the idea of growing confidence even further, on moving through the chorus – and following the line of ‘made to feel something’ – a real sense of musical empowerment appears in the form of pounding drums and distorted, arpeggiated guitar riffs. Working as an instrumental link, as these elements crescendo, the power reaches its greatest to this point. It truly is quite the transformation. This said while it showcases the high level of musicality, the ensuing developments do even more so.
Striking the perfect balance between the sense of strength and the more reserved sound of the first verse, the second verse delivers equal elements of both. Returning to the acoustic centre, the strummed guitar feels light and gives Hannah’s vocal the chance to shine as much as the start. However, with sustained low strings forming the bass movement and the drum beating in a way that, given the line of ‘pounding in my chest’, is appropriately heartbeat like, a true understanding of effective songwriting shines just as much. However, ensuring that this is demonstrated right to the end, the track takes a surprise turn.
Having built up texturally in the pre-chorus, and with the chorus itself containing an air of euphoria, the sparser sound suddenly returns. Stripping back to reveal one similar, although not identical to the opening, it draws our attention back to the thought-filled intent of Hannah’s lyricism once more. Given what has just occurred, it is indeed unexpected, but in serving as a few moments to reflect before the empowered finale, it’s the perfect reminder of her musical versatility.