Hannah Diamond Reflections
Published Nov 20, 2019Teased for what seems like a very long time, pop artist Hannah Diamond's debut full-length on London, England's PC Music has finally arrived. Accompanied by bleeding-edge, meticulously programmed production from label-head A.G. Cook (with collaboration from easyFun), Diamond's take on pop music is as arresting as it was when she first made waves on the label earlier in the decade. This means that, if you haven't yet acquired a taste for the project's saccharine tones and pitch-bent vocal acrobatics, you can safely sit this one out, but if you have, Reflections should satisfy your palate.
The title track starts the album off strong, running along similar lines to Cook's "Superstar" from 2016 — plaintive, heavily processed vocals full of unexpected glitches and digital flourishes over minimal instrumentation. The rest of the album follows suit, bursting with candy-floss melodies and ear-bending production. Indeed, Cook and easyFun threaten to steal the show here, altering and layering Diamond's diminutive voice in all sorts of interesting ways, the helium-infused tones of "Fade Away" and the talk-box soloing of "Make Believe" being only two notable examples.
That said, their reading of "Concrete Angel" is something of a misstep. One of the more epic trance tunes of 2012 (originally by Gareth Emery and Christina Novelli), the original's emotional, driving urgency proves a poor fit for the tiny, laptop-sized scale of Reflections. It's a patchwork of ideas that really doesn't know what to do with its memorable vocal line, fumbling its momentum at least twice before tapering off aimlessly, although Diamond's performance is fine.
Also disappointing is the fact that more than half of these ten tracks have been floating around the internet for a while now — some for years. After such a long wait, it would have been nice to have more new material.
There's nothing out there quite like PC Music though, and as the most visible face of the label, there must have been considerable pressure on Diamond to deliver with this album, and she largely does with Reflections — it really does sound like pop music from 15 years in the future. Hopefully a more substantial collection of new material isn't too far into it. (PC Music)