Review Archive

‘At 2 in the Morning’ - Hat Check Girl - an intimate first-hand feel

(March 04, 2015)

Sometimes I wonder how albums acquire their titles. What sparked the headline in the artist’s mind? Usually, Hat Check Girl at 2 in the morningit’s a case of who knows? However, listen to ‘At 2 in the Morning’ from the duo Hat Check Girl and you’re instantly at one with its title. Hat Check Girl play reserved thoughtful music with the unpretentious accompaniment of two instruments,which gives the album its intimate first-hand feel. There’s nothing more needed. No additions required other than to hear its unadorned tranquillity suggesting a similar ‘quiet’ to that experienced in the ‘small hours’. In their view the album comes from that experience "... the way we would play these songs at 2 in the morning"  understand that and then everything becomes clear.

The way these songs are played perfectly encompasses their messages, the way the voices deliver the words brings out the meaning embedded in the lyrics. That's a combination that needs time. The more you engage with this album the more you absorb its substance. This album should be taken as a whole. Track by track analysis falls short. Take time to hear the entirety. Set aside an hour to let it work its magic, you’ll be glad you did. Naturally, there are always songs that leave their mark, those that do include ‘Texas’, ‘Beggar and A Thief’, ‘Tornados Sound Like Trains’, ‘I Speak To Fewer People’ and for me, ‘Leaving’ brings its message vividly to life with images so real you can see its story played out in your head.

‘At 2 in the Morning’ makes a profound and powerful statement in the most understated of ways. Hat Check Girl is Annie Gallup (electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, lap steel, 6-string banjo, vocals) and Peter Gallway (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals).

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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