Hater – Siesta (Fire Records)

Hater – Siesta (Fire Records)

In the three or so years that Malmö foursome Hater have been together, we’ve followed their every step. Gently ambling from release to release, building a following, they always seemed to know where they were heading, but were certainly in no rush. Second album Siesta is in much the same vein and sees Hater carving out a warm, timeless space reminiscent of a hazy summer afternoon, a place where consciousness wanders aimlessly, untethered to any kind of reality.

While punctuated here and there by relatively more intense, staple indie-rock tracks, the overall mood of the album is nevertheless characterised by its title. The sleepy waltz, ‘From The Bottom Of your Heart’ shyly offers us a place to start. However, its quiet charm doesn’t last long, as it leads us headfirst and unexpectedly into the contrasting synth pop hooks of ‘So Easy’, one of the more obvious singles from the album. Well placed, sharp song contrasts like these vitally give energy to Hater’s sound, while also allowing them to explore darker passages. As ever, Caroline Landahl’s voice mostly has the grainy 3.00 a.m. rawness of someone who’s been partying all night, yet on Siesta we hear occasional shifts in its state. From soothing, fluttery vocal tones cradled by saxophones on ‘I Wish I Gave You More Time Because I Love You’, to deeper Nico-like Sprechgesang on ‘So Easy’, Landahl moves effortlessly around the emotional spectrum, though her favourite spot seems to be among the fraying edges of passion.

For some, Siesta’s greatest strength may also be the source of a potential weakness. This is a fairly long album (just short of an hour) and while there are certainly no real ‘fillers’ here, a few songs are so relaxed and chilled-out that it’s easy to drift off, aimless, along with them. This is a shame, as the lyrics on Siesta are rather resonant. In many ways, Siesta is so unassuming, that it needs to be taken in slowly and carefully. You don’t need to sit with this record intently to appreciate its charm, but repeat listens reveal the album’s subtle details.

Instant favourites like ‘Closer’, the smoky lullaby ‘All That Your Dreams Taught Me’ or the Sarah Records-like ‘Cut Me Loose’, eventually give way after a while to a newly heard guitar hook or surprising lyric that emerges elsewhere, through more focused listening. Take for example the smouldering pain of ‘Why It Works Out Fine’, an easily-overlooked yet pivotal track on the album, or ‘Fall Off’ with its off-kilter phrasing and interweaving atonal guitars. The latter part of Siesta in particular has some stunningly beautiful and delicate melodies that float effortlessly along, like ‘Seems So Hard’ which recalls Alvvays or The Cardigans at their most hushed.

From their early EPs, Hater always seemed to adopt an entirely different perspective on songwriting compared to some of their Scandinavian indie peers; playing around with the usual rules and formulae, they find a compelling new way to say all the things that have been said before. Closing track, ‘Weekend’ sees Hater take yet another strange turn, thanks to its stuttering and wailing guitars, Landahl’s languid tones, but most of all, the obscure sample “…the things that appear on people’s breakfast tables are… important”. All this might seem disconnected or haphazard if it wasn’t for the album’s consistently abstract mood, created by producer Joakim Lindberg (Yast and Hey Elbow).

Siesta, thenis simultaneously easy to absorb and hard to fathom. It unravels the more you go back to it. In the end, it’s left to us to make sense of it all, but the core message is, perhaps, that we shouldn’t ignore the small things. They will come and catch us out in our dreams.

 

Siesta is released on 28th September, 2018 via Fire Records.

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