EP Review: Gretel Hänlyn – ‘The Head Of The Love Club’ — When The Horn Blows

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London-based singer-songwriter Gretel Hänlyn is back with her grotesquely unique new EP ‘The Head Of The Love Club’.

Hänlyn kicks off the EP with his classic spooky, mystical sound. ‘Dry Me’, the first track on the EP, incorporates her unique narration with her rasping voice that adds a sense of mystery and fantasy to her music. Known for her storytelling ways, Hänlyn is no stranger to incorporating the dark aesthetic of fairy tales into her songs. Having been surrounded by creativity her entire life, the young artist now paves the way for others to explore her imagination through her writing.

We move on to ‘Drive’, where we are introduced to the electric, punk sound that underlies the EP. Hänlyn gives us the feel of the early 2000s in his music thus far. We could easily see that his music had been featured in popular movies of the time like St Tinian’s or Twilight due to its edgy post-punk aesthetic.

Following a similar sound to ‘Drive’, we have the harrowing ‘King Of Nothing’. Throughout the track, Hänlyn’s smooth vocals blend beautifully with the track’s danceable melody. Although this song has a more upbeat beat and a girl-pop feel, the message behind the song has a more serious tone. ‘King Of Nothing’ can be read almost as a social commentary on the increasing type of men claiming to be feminists, when in reality they are simply wearing it as a disguise to further hurt women: “You say you love women, but you only love your mother.”

‘Wiki’ moves slightly away from the heavy sound we heard on the EP, to a more indie-pop sound with simple guitar riffs and her vocals as the track’s focal point. Hänlyn takes her imagination to new heights when she states that the track is inspired by cats, more specifically being a cat: “I’ve always thought it must be nice to be a cat, to get massages and compliments and have a nice tail, nothing to do like that.” That’s pretty much what this song is about.”

‘Little Vampire’ hits on the haunting of Hänlyn’s sound, leaving us with a haunted feeling as we recall past relationships gone wrong. The track’s slower pace and lingering notes remind me of the ones used on Radiohead’s ‘Videotape’. It’s the kind of track that makes you stop and question everything while staring at the ceiling. The song is one that I have repeated and will surely make you lose yourself in Hänlyn’s trance-like voice.

Near the end of the EP, we have the self-titled song ‘The Head Of The Love Club’. Hänlyn dives back into her dark fantasy and horror sound as she describes the feeling of falling in love with her. With the combination of the EP’s theme and this track, we can imagine it playing in a classic 90’s movie, like ‘The Lost Boys’ during two of the main characters’ romantic scenes.

His final tracks, ‘Easy Peeler’ and ‘Today (can’t help but cry)’ have a bittersweet undertone. Both tracks dive into the mix of genres featured throughout the album; ‘Easy Peeler’ showcases her softer voice, while ‘Today’ is a more upbeat pop song. Hänlyn explains what the final track is like “Probably my favorite song I’ve ever written because it got me out of a position where I felt like I was drowning.” She goes on to state the origins of the final track: “Sometimes things don’t work out with someone, they had all this love emotion and they had nowhere to put it.”

Gretel Hänlyn is probably one of my favorite artists I’ve discovered this year, with her unique experimental sound. Her storytelling and imagination of hers are unforgettable, as we can only hope she signs up for a movie soundtrack in the future.

words for katherine wits

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