Since their arrival in the spring of 2016, Hater have piqued the interest of tastemakers across the globe. It began with Radius, which was a three-song EP filled with warm and upbeat guitar-driven dream-pop. Their debut album, You Tried, takes their sound even further and offers even more intoxicating and memorable songs.
Much of the album brims with a breathtaking dreaminess and shimmering enchantment only replicated by Alvvays. And like the Canadian stars, the Malmö-based quartet take lovesick and heartbreaking experiences and make them feel splendid. The warm, jangly notes of the opener “Carpet” are exhilarating, and frontwoman Caroline Landahl’s vocals feel slightly distant yet soothing. The slow-building but euphoric “Had It All” and the immersive closer, “You Tried”, are stunning ballads made for intimate, late-night affairs. On the latter, Landahl’s vocals take on a sultry smokiness, further adding to the song’s mystery.
You Tried, however, showcases a much more expansive palette for the band. The delirious and anthemic “Cry Later” echoes ’70s and early ’80s rock. The ebbs and flows of the song create a number of emotions – from the need to uncontrollably whirl around to wanting to be swept away high above the clouds to thrashing your head as hard as you can. And as Landahl sings, “We didn’t care if this was the last one”, visions of your youthful exuberant days flood your mind. The pensive “Always To Get By” is a lo-fi, gritty number that is the album’s emotional centerpiece, as Landahl reflects on the passing of a person. Meanwhile, “Heavy Hearts” has an air of Blondie and Pat Benatar during their early angst days.
The highlight of the album, however, is the emotional “Mental Heaven”. Radiating with gorgeous dream-pop notes, the melodies and rhythms are calming and entrancing, resulting in one forgetting momentarily all the troubles in the world. The song, however, demonstrates that Hater is much more than a band for a younger generation and technicolor soundscapes. Its message will resonate with all – that you are not alone in struggling with life, a disease, or an illness.
You Tried is just the hint of Hater’s potential. Their ability to effortlessly write songs that are devastating in their lyrical impact yet bewitching to hear is only rivaled by a few. If they continue down this path, they should continue to marvel even the most critical reviewer and tastemaker while becoming a global sensation in due time.
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