[Hadda Be – ‘Another Life’ album art]
By Sandy Power
Hadda Be is a four-piece indie-pop/post-punk band from the joint hometowns of South London and Brighton. Formed under the band’s previous moniker Foundlings in 2018, the group have built up an extensive repertoire of EPs and singles both as Foundlings and more recently as Hadda Be. 2020 saw the departure of their original bass player, as well as the aforementioned name change, inspired by the Allan Ginsberg poem of the same title. Already signed to Glasgow’s oft talked about Last Night From Glasgow, the band have continued releasing into 2021 with a string of singles in the run up to their highly anticipated debut album.
The album in question, ‘Another Life’, is an energetic infusion of infectious rhythms and layered guitars. Opener ‘Apathy’, is a brisk indie rocker, marked by a lovely mix of clean and overdrive guitars, smooth and melodic vocals, as well as a distinctive percussive flourish in the song’s choruses and instrumentals.
Following track, ‘Catch it on the Fall’ rings true to the band’s post-punk leanings, with a Peter Hook-esque bass-line underpinning chiming arpeggiated guitar and a Weyes Blood-like floral vocal melody. Palm-muted guitar adds intensity in the song’s verses, with the guitar soaring in the chorus. The title track, ‘Another Life’ is an instant hit of melody, with its guitar intro a veritable ear-worm. The song has a considered arrangement, thinning in the verses before building into the chorus and instrumental sections. The rhythmic bounce is accentuated by the percussive nature of the guitar playing, and the general “live” feel of the track is bolstered by a lively crowd vocal.
‘Take it Away’ opens with a frenetic guitar, playing over a racing 16th note rhythm on hi-hat. This one has a definite Klaxons/Bloc Party feel with its insistent drive. I’m a particular fan of the bass string bends which lean into the intense middle section. The intensity continues on the more sinister sounding ‘Wait in the Dark’, which makes good use of power chords and the sort of riffiness we are used to with Bloc Party and Interpol. The heaviest number of the album, ‘Wait in the Dark’ is discordant in places, particularly in the chaotic instrumental section break, which is punctuated by persistent drum stabs. The song blows out with a repetitive vocal and galloping drum rolls.
‘Unknown Places’ has a lighter, more Arctic Monkeys type feel, with a breezy rhythm, reverb treated vocal and high-end guitar figures. The percussive build mid-way through the track leads into a more abrasive instrumental section, making full use of an expressive guitar style. ‘This Won’t End Well’ has a stronger beat, created by a prominent drum part and choppy guitars. The guitar solo offers a little release without being ostentatious. The song ends appropriately to its overall style, with an abrupt, unfinished sounding chord, which rings out.
‘So it Goes’ is an unlikely but beautiful, more acoustic based track, with gorgeous finger-picked guitar and a darker atmosphere. The vocal is mellow yet melancholy, and is joined by a shaker to add rhythm and a sparingly employed piano to build on the song’s harmony. The bass remains muted throughout, an echo of the numbness built by the rest of the instrumentation. A cymbal rush ushers in a more expansive arrangement for the rest of the song. ‘Fire’ returns us to more bare bones rock, with a melodic, poppy chorus, which ends on a major to minor shift, gifting the song more of an edge. The mix is larger than life but eventually dissipates as the final chord rings out.
‘Almost Over’ is, funnily enough, the penultimate track of ‘Another Life’. The incisive guitar playing is reminiscent of Placebo’s ‘The Bitter End’ and American hardcore lynchpins At The Drive-In; the song sustaining an insistent tempo throughout. Pitch-shifted yelps in the guitar give a further dynamism to the track, the frantic feel of the song matching its title, whilst the vocals retain a certain velvety quality. Closer ‘Nurse’s Song’ lets the high paced energy die a little but not completely, still possessing a head-nod inducing rhythm. The overdrive guitar sounds like latter-day Richard Oakes-era Suede, and the vocal sample used adds a further dimension, transforming the song into a real statement. The dense mix of elements allow for the track to ascend into a euphoric culmination of musical expression.
The record displays a consistency which holds it together as an album, yet contains enough variety to keep things very interesting. Recorded over five days at Brighton Road Studios, the recording captures the band’s raw and playful spirit.
Order ‘Another Life’ via the Last Night From Glasgow online shop
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