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Music Review

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Wake Up!


Artist: Hazel English
Label: Polyvinyl Record Co
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 April 2020

Hazel English wants us to open our eyes. Through her shimmering, daydream-pop, the California based singer-songwriter is on a mission to rattle the cages of our very existence, asking us to dig deep and ask challenging questions of ourselves. Wake Up!, her debut album, is a call to arms: an attempt to “make people become more aware and mindful...”

Blending wistful, candid lyricism with jangling psych and beach-pop sounds, Hazel English’s compelling songwriting has earned her over 25 million streams, airplay on BBC Radio 1, 6Music and Beats, praise from Lauren Laverne and Annie Mac, and press acclaim with double EP Just Give In/Never Going Home labelled by The 405 as “one of the strongest records of the year”.

It should come as no surprise that Revolver-era Beatles, The Mamas & The Papas, The Zombies and Jefferson Airplane were all at the forefront of her mind while recording. Obsessing over old movies and vintage clothing since the age of 15, English took cues from surrealism, dadaism and the writings of sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick for the record.

It's hard to believe that Wake Up! is English's debut LP. There's a confidence here that feels like at least the makings of a third album. There's no standout single material here, instead the album works well as a whole with each track staying with you just as much as the last... or the next. It's a rarity these days to uniformly find an LP that is a joy to listen to from start to finish, and this is exactly what English gives us.


Nick Smithson

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