Coming in from across the pond, Chloe Hawes’s newest release is a short four-song EP called O.W.W.W.P. The singer-songwriter delivers vibes that float in the world of country-folk-indie. It’s a relatively dialed back album that’s not very long and doesn’t really have the juice to make a strong point in the short four tracks. Tonally it’s a smooth ride, and the songwriting ideas are laid back and cool.
The first track, “Shakespearean Tragedy” starts off with some slick guitar and slide work, but very suddenly jumps into the pop-punk hole that drowned the vibe. A true tragedy indeed. Maybe it’s something about the mix that gives this song a weird stance, but even the upbeat tempo cannot get the track to take off. The vocals sound like a loud whisper that at times doesn’t seem to sit well with the rest of what’s going on. Shaky start.
Luckily, “Anything Once” is the second, and probably coolest track on the record in my opinion. Although the main guitar lead eats up a lot of the quiet space with its loud, single note melody, all of the other elements sit nicely together. Hawes’ vocals don’t vary much throughout the album, unfortunately, but for this song, I feel like the voicing makes more sense with the mood of the song. The song has a really superb ending that brings some trumpet into the mix. This part really hits and has a great feel to it. Horns for the win.
The title track follows with more of the same acoustic-driven vibes. At this point, however, I feel like I’ve already explored the depths of Hawes as a vocalist. She seems to have the same voicing and delivery for every song. The track is only of guitar and vocals, so the air gets a bit too stale and bland at some points, with it being a rather straightforward song. Although the music is well strung together I feel like more harmonies and dynamics vocally would compliment her vocal style nicely.
“Spirals” wraps things up, and does so with a little more push than the rest of the EP. A big factor is the presence of some vocal dubs and backup vocals. Again, although the mix brings out the harsher side of the backups, the idea is there and helps push the song big-time. There are some wavy and crunchy guitars that are tucked nicely underneath the acoustic for some extra juice. This helps for the final punch of the song which drives a bit faster than the rest. This song seems more realized and complete with the addition of some extra vocals and more dynamics throughout the song.
This is Chloe Hawes’ third EP. Although it ends on a stronger note, it still seems like there’s more that we could expect from Hawes in the future in terms of writing and performance. Though a little bland at times, that is very much an opinion, so take a quick snack of this bite-sized album and see for yourselves.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy