Text: Paul van der Zalm

In May 2021, we already wrote: King Hannah could become a big name, following their performance at the (online) Grauzone Festival. Of course, it wasn’t entirely by chance that King Hannah was there, because the November 2020 EP ‘Tell Me Your Mind and I’ll Tell You Mine’ had already made a lot of people with good antennae perk up their ears, despite the fact that hardly any promotion had been made for it. The debut single ‘Crème Brûlée’ was not a dessert, but a tasty appetiser. Those who enjoyed it can join in, because the debut album ‘I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me’ is released today, with ten songs from the same kitchen. As we could already see, the project of Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle has grown into a real band, with the addition of Ted White (synth), Jake Lipiec (drums) and Olly Gorman (bass).

Lyrically, Merrick stays close to herself; in both the opening and closing songs, she refers to how it began, when Whittle came to work in the same Liverpool bar as her – although Whittle had already become impressed with her a few years before – and chemistry developed between them. Whittle comes even closer to herself when talking about bedwetting as a child in ‘All Being Fine’, but also the title track indicates that people should just take her as she is. Whittle’s youth can be heard in ‘Ants Crackling On An Apple Stork’, the only low-fi song he performs himself. There are three instrumental tracks on the album. ‘So Much Water So Close To Drone’ is actually the intro to ‘All Being Fine’ and ‘Death Of The House Phone’ is a short requiem, showing the subtle humour that characterises the whole album. On the other hand, ‘Berenson’ is musically distinctive, because it evokes the atmosphere of an American road movie, for which it could be the ideal soundtrack, with a long sustained tone as a basis. The other songs fit in well and usually follow the same pattern: Merrick dominating the first part of the song with her understated vocals, sometimes sounding like a Sharon van Etten or a Lana Del Rey with a pinch of Margo Timmins (of the Cowboy Junkies) and Whittle weaving atmospheric guitar sounds underneath to go wild in the second part. Another reference is Portishead, for ‘Foolius Caesar’ could very well be a song by this band.

Hopefully there will be a lot of festivals, because King Hannah would be a good name on the line-up. You can still watch last year’s performance at Grauzone via this link.

City Snake