Hannah Peel

Society of Sound showcases Hannah Peel with a special edition release bringing together 2014’s Fabricstate and a preview of the brand new unheard Rebox 2.

Rebox 2 features four new music box covers and three new instrumental pieces. Peel’s first Rebox came out as an EP in 2010, when she covered the likes of Cocteau Twins, New Order and Soft Cell.

Opening track ‘Queen’ sets the tone, switching between the scarring homophobic insults - ‘cracked, peeling, riddled with disease’ - and a mocking, defiant response, ‘no family is safe when I sashay’, whilst setting the original lyric and melody on a hand punched music box. This is augmented by sparse percussion and echoing psychedelic textures, as if the track is a fragment from a long lost This Mortal Coil recording. As Hannah Peel says, “these songs are about finding a path through life and knowing who we are.”

John Grant’s ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ is also about self-awareness and acceptance as the singer looks back at his younger self. Peel’s version retains the epic grandeur of the original with layers of multi-tracked voices and harp-like music box, while the synths revel in the sense of experimentation that inspired Grant to write the song in the first place – “he was recalling his own adolescent enthusiasm for electronic pioneers such as Cabaret Voltaire and Yello,” says Peel.

A striking image also opens ‘Palace’ – “in detail you are even more beautiful than from afar.” The Wild Beasts’ song from 2014 is once again about a moment of realization. As Peel puts it, “the lyrics are about finding a home and being comfortable with that place in life. Any place is a palace.” In an interview with Noisey the band’s Hayden Thorpe revealed “that sense of clarity is very rare for me. I only get it when I’ve had a heavy night and I’m still kind of intoxicated the next morning, but there’s a sense of feeling good. It’s about the crest of the wave rather than the crash.” Peel focuses in on this clarity, stripping back the arrangement to just her voice and the music box – a recording so still and clear it’s as if she is singing and playing in the room. The song is a simple and beautiful piece of contemporary composition worthy of the band’s Ivor Novello nomination.

The final cover on the album is ‘Heaven, How Long’, originally written by East India Youth and arguably the centerpiece of their Total Strife Forever debut album from 2014. It’s a soaring, emotional pay-off to Peel’s new release, closing with the revealing, eternally longing line – ‘In spite of all the love inside me/There is a question I’ve been asking/Heaven, how long?’

All four songs are linked by new music written for the project by Peel and co-producer Erland Cooper. The looped, playful ‘Let The Laughter In’ – “about not letting the negativity seep in”; ‘Reverie’ is piano-led daydreaming followed by the synthetic pulse of ‘Premonition’ which “looks to the future” before segueing into ‘Heaven, How Long’

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