ALBUM REVIEW: Spectacular Heartbreak (HAYLEY MARSTEN)
ALBUM: Spectacular Heartbreak // ARTIST: Hayley Marsten
There's beauty in the breakdown for singer songwriter Hayley Marsten and her recently released debut album Spectacular Heartbreak - but this ain't no breakup album.
Just a few months ago The Soundcheck got to chat with enigmatic country artist Hayley Marsten all things writing, catharsis and heartbreaks as she was knee-deep in wrangling funds through a Pozible campaign to raise enough cash to record her debut album. Fast forward just under five months later and this divine young artist not only smashed her target goal - she's since unveiled a complete labour of love and loss, culminating in a charming creation coated in country licks and sassy flicks aptly titled Spectacular Heartbreak.
In fitting Marsten fashion, the opening and title track comes at you like an old friend who knows just when to call when you're having a bad day. Chock full of rambling guitars and shuffling percussion, Marsten ultimately comes out with some robust restraint as she lets her sparkling personality take the reigns on this calm ode to finding acceptance and strength amid emotional devastation. Up next, Hitch Your Wagon glimmers its way along as Marsten ever-so-softly lilts into the beautifully produced Grocery Line, boasting soft arrangements beneath composed vocals as the track both breaks and bolsters your soul with tales of hopeful heartache.
Following on in captivating fashion from the previous delights is lead single and total charmer Wendy. Dressed up in autobiographical certainty and clean simplicity, Wendy is without a doubt one of the standout sonic gems in the Spectacular Heartbreak package as Marsten captures catchiness devoid of ego and despair, while paying tribute to her very own mum in a moving turn of events.
WENDY (HAYLEY MARSTEN)
Spectacular Heartbreak continues in oscillating fashion, with stripped-back ballads (Green & Blue, Pretty), bluesy swagger (Watch Me Dancing) and cheeky country jaunts (Cry In Your Beer) before Marsten throws narrative inhibition to the wind and unveils her most personal and polished track yet with the dreamy Red Wine, White Dress. While still repping hints of Marsten's bold personality throughout, Red Wine, White Dress ultimately evolves into denser textures, beefed up vocals and a more modern take on the country trope overall, resulting in a potent and powerfully moving outing that sticks with you long after the soothing tones subside.
RED WINE, WHITE DRESS (HAYLEY MARSTEN)
Call it a Day returns to more traditional country roots, as the twangs and emotional turmoil return in soft fashion, before Marsten truly strips bare and pours her heart out on the heart-rending closing track Time I Have, detailing a realignment of reality and priorities after the unexpected death of a friend.
With dramatic sincerity and towering self-awareness, the true star shimmering brightly behind Hayley Marsten's debut album is not just the glossy technicality and execution - but rather, it's the calm sophistication and unwavering control Marsten wields with her poignant writing and impassioned performances. Armed with proficiency well beyond her years and charisma overflowing into the next suburb and most likely beyond, Marsten has crafted something truly spectacular with her debut full-length: a coming-of-age monument blended with punchy passion and catchy modern country from a staunchly inspiring artist.
HAYLEY MARSTEN'S DEBUT ALBUM SPECTACULAR HEARTBREAK IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE WORLD NOW, AND SHE'S CURRENTLY HITTING THE ROAD TO A TOWN NEAR YOU TO CELEBRATE HER STUNNING NEW RELEASE. TOUR DATES BELOW, AND FOR MORE INFO, HEAD HERE.
Thursday 5th September - Oodies Cafe – Bundaberg, QLD Friday 6th September - Captain Cook - 1770, QLD Saturday 14th September - The Press – Tamworth, NSW Sunday 15th September - Flow Bar - Old Bar, NSW Thursday 19th September - Lazybones – Marrickville, NSW Friday 20th September – Toppy Hall (w/ Fanny Lumsden) – Wyalong, NSW Saturday 21st September – Palladium Palace Theatre (w/ Fanny Lumsden) – Morundah, NSW Sunday 22nd September - Servo Bar – Wollongong, NSW Saturday 12th October - VDM Fest – Biloela, QLD Friday 18th October - Apple Cider Shed - Grove, TAS Saturday 19th October - Royal Oak - Launceston, TAS Friday 25th October - Springdale Hall (w/ Fanny Lumsden) - Springdale, NSW Saturday 26th October - Gunbar Hall (w/ Fanny Lumsden) - Gunbar, NSW Thursday 7th November - Wesley Ann – Melbourne, VIC Friday 8th November - Bayview Country Art Club – Bittern, VIC Friday 15th November - Loomberah Hall (w/ Fanny Lumsden) – Loomberah, NSW Saturday 16th November - Glen Innes Hall (w/ Fanny Lumsden) – Glen Innes, NSW Saturday 23rd November – Hometown Fest – Brisbane, QLD
BY TIANA SPETER