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HI SIENNA

WE REVIEW THE NEW EP FROM HI SIENNA – PICKLEBACK

Boisterous, flamboyant and unapologetic are just a few words to describe HI SIENNA, one of Manchester’s most exciting upcoming alt-pop groups. Now, after four years, many infectious singles, and critically acclaimed live shows, the band gift us their debut EP.

Pickleback is a whirlwind from start to finish, boasting six massive tunes in what the band calls “pure indie-pop passion.” It begins with Cry ‘Til I Drown which initially sounds depressing. However, the instantaneous groove represents anything but that, with funky melodic basslines and euphoric synths. It’s the perfect anti-heartbreak anthem to kick things off.

Carabiner follows with a more mystical vibe through hushed instrumentals that push PoppyJo’s unique vocals into full focus. Her high, shallow tone is perfect for the genre; it blends with the accompaniment yet carries enough stamina to lead each track.

The title track, Pickleback, is a true banger reminiscent of the joyously intoxicating soundtrack that dominated the 2010s. Rippling synths make dancing to this song irresistible, while the rhythm section follows suit.

Counting Kisses then ups the pace with galloping drums and gorgeous harmonic layers that lift the track beyond its dimensions.

Offering a different vibe altogether is the penultimate track Blue Pills And Arm Scars. This balladesque tune starts low but soon develops a huge atmosphere through structural, lyrical, and sonic push-and-pull. It presents an alternative side to HI SIENNA, where the carefree dance persona takes a step back and allows their intricate musicianship to shine.

But the seriousness doesn’t last forever, as they return to themselves for the final song Silverline. A more mellow affair, this track begins with watery reverberated guitars that call in a moment of serenity before picking up in tempo and tone for the duration. It’s quite different from the start of the album, but a strong finish, nonetheless.

Pickleback feels thorough and transformative, displaying HI SIENNA from all angles to show their multifaceted yet consistent personality as a band. The full EP drops this Friday, 12th July.

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