Back in July last year we featured FOE, aka Hannah Clark, and her 90s influenced, gutter guitar rock inspired Deep Water Heartbreaker. The track provided a taster of what the 21 year old had to offer and now, 6 months later, she’s ready to release her debut album via Vertigo Records. Bad Dream Hotline is again produced by former collaborator Adam M Crisp, aka Entrepreneurs and mixed by Dan Grech (The Vaccines, Howling Bells) and Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals).
The debut features 12 tracks of grunge guitars, fairground organs and trashy vocals. The opener Ballad For The Brainkeepers quickly sets the mood with eerie church organs immediately conjuring up images of funeral homes and Frankenstein before launching into the heavy guitars and noisy rhythms that feature heavily throughout the album. Clarke embraces her accent and utilises it brilliantly to express her lyrics with attitude, emotion and effortless delivery. The arrangement of the album follows suit, with instruments retaining their raw edge.
Lyrically Bad Dream Hotline is as dark as the music. Get Money is an angry blast at greedy money makers, the chorus blaring: ‘Get money, die young, live fast, die young, get money, get numb, get numb, get numb’, and backed by stomping drums and heavy guitars. The twisted fairy tale of Black Lodge plays out like a nursery rhyme with the brilliant and poignant phrase: There’s a breeze in the trees, singing Your black heart, your black heart needs a transplant’.
It’s hard to pinpoint a genre onto Hannah Clark’s debut offering. And that’s a good thing. Clark pulls from 90’s grunge and trashy rock and uses dark and haunting fairy tale and circus themes to create her own unique sound. Although tracks all push this sound they aren’t predictable. The chorus on A Handsome Stranger Called Death, for example, comes out of nowhere and each track tells a story that you want to listen to.
All in all Bad Dream Hotline plays out like a musical freak show that, at under 40 minutes long, is over all too soon. An impressive debut!
FOE’s latest single Cold Hard Rock is released Monday, a week before the album. You can pre order the album Bad Dream Hotline here.