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Bachelorette – Bachelorette

June 6, 2011 by  

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Bachelorette – Bachelorette

NAME: Bachelorette
ALBUM: Bachelorette
DATE: 16May2011

LABEL: Souterrain Transmission


FIVE WORD REVIEW: Cyborg in Fair Isle knitwear

LOCATION: New Zealand / USA

LINE UP: Annabel Alpers (everything)


WHAT’S THE STORY?: Sometimes, you put on a new record, and being the kind of timid, orthodox individual who is scared of zebra crossings and Dyson Airblades, you start by listening to track one. It’ll set the scene, you think confidently, and you’ll know what to expect from there on in.

Big mistake. ‘Grow Old With Me’, the album’s opener, presents you with ethereal ambient noise happenings, a chamber choir, and a robotic voice pronouncing “the future’s disquieting”. Usually it’s the robots causing rather than voicing the disquiet, but never mind – according to Annabel Alpers, it will be acceptable in the future to pronounce the word “disintegrate” with the accent on the third syllable (try it), so perhaps the robots are justified in their anxiety.

It isn’t until track two, ‘The Light Seekers’, that the secret of ‘Bachelorette’ is revealed. It’s a folk album. Perhaps folktronica, perhaps dream pop, pick a genre and if Pitchfork have ever championed it, it’s probably included, but within this indiedroid beats an organic heart, pumping that folk blood through its veins.

You’ll hear it again in Sugarbug, a sickly-sweet loop pedal improvisation with a psychedelic guitar ending tacked on, in the hurdy-gurdy drones underpinning the call-and-response storytelling of ‘The Last Boat’s Leaving’, and in the waltzing strums of ‘Tui Tui’. There is even, for an awful moment, an echo of New Zealand’s greatest folk export Flight of the Conchords in the po-faced monotone she utilises on lyrics like “the waveforms are our friends”.

It’s all cloaked in an impressive array of whistles and bells, with layers upon layers of vocal harmonies, synth bass lines pulsing and buzzing, and skittery percussion, but the finest treats on offer are the simplest. ‘The Light Seekers’ and ‘Not Entertainment’ both offer wistful melodies that rise and fall with natural ease, but the majority of the songwriting remains forced and awkward, matched by further irritating over-pronunciations. Note to artist: “branches” does not and never will rhyme with “Sanchez”.

This curious struggle between traditional folk and dystopian electronica remains unresolved throughout. If she had brought more than two or three decent tunes to the album it might have rendered this underlying tension more than vaguely interesting, but even at just 35 minutes this is a tiring listen.

SOUNDS LIKE: An unfortunately barren coupling of folk and experimentalism

YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF: You believe the relentless search for originality is of higher importance than the more rewarding and elusive hunt for good melodies.


Submitted By Martin Headon



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