Hen Hoose - Equaliser
Release Date: Out Now
For those of you that haven't been paying attention, Hen Hoose is a collective of some of the finest female musicians that Scotland has to offer and 'Equaliser' is their first album release. All caught up? Good, then let's get down to business. The album opens with recent single 'Monochrome', a collaboration between Emma Pollock and Pippa Murphy which has a lovely indie bounce to it which puts me in mind of the Long Blondes, the Raincoats and Lush. 'Just Be Real' sees Murphy team up with Rachael Swinton for a more subdued and sultry track that is as honest as it is sumptuous.
The charge of this collective has been spearheaded by Tamara Schlesinger who you may know better as Malka and 'These Are The Nights' sees her team up with Karine Polwart for a typically tropical but dark alt-pop romp. The 80s bass squelch of 'The Best Is Yet To Come' brings Amandah Wilkinson and Carla J. Easton in to work with Schlesinger on a track that would perfectly in a John Hughes film about female empowerment in the face of capitalist misogyny - think Working Girl but with more neon.
The tone shifts down on 'Revolution Retribution' as Wilkinson pairs up with Jay Puren for a darker melody and a rapped lyric that draws you in to their world instantly. Elisabeth Elektra and Susan Bear tag team on 'Hush Hush', an icy cool melody with moody bass notes and a Sia meets Goldfrapp-esque vibe while 'Go Easy' brings Polwart back in alongside Bear for a delicate and folky ode to self-care and kindness - it is absolutely beautiful. Another single was 'The Bliss' which sees Schlesinger team up with Inge Thomson on an impish and ethereal track that is as atmospheric as it is enthralling with its collections of rhythms, sounds and fragmented melodies.
The dramatic and beautiful ballad that is 'A Change In The Light' by Sarah Hayes and Pippa Murphy is the kind of heartbreaking song that Adele would kill for while 'Make It Alright' is a piano based sad banger courtesy of Hayes and Elektra that makes the most of some 80s synth vibes. The penultimate song is 'Outrun You' by Wilkinson and Thomson with a real sense of outsider pop full of quirk and charm. Fittingly, 'Burn It All' is the final track, written and performed by Thomson and the very recently and sadly departed Beldina Odenyo - a soft and gentle piano melody that grows and transforms in to a quietly epic piece of music. This was an album intended to showcase the present of Scottish female talent and give power and hope to the future of those that will follow on. Tragically, this album is now also a testament to the past and the lost talent of Beldina Odenyo but there is still hope - there is always hope.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/Henhoose