Review, ‘Amateur professional’, HANYA
Think Brighton dreampop, and you’re probably already thinking HANYA. The four piece has built a reputation as the most ethereal band on the seafront; a label made more impressive considering they’re only the latest of Theo Verney’s Brightonian dreampop exports. Even more remarkable, they only debuted in 2020. Seeped in seductive guitar and substantial reverb, it seems new single ‘Amateur Professional’ won’t be knocking them from that enviable plinth any time soon.
While HANYA are only in their toddler-hood, guitarist/vocalist Heather Sheret describes its members as ‘long-time friends’ to DORK. Their origin story goes back over a decade, to when she met drummer Jack Watkins ‘on his way to work at Toys R Us’. A suitably surreal beginning for a band submerged in a dreamscape of synths and breathy vocals. The duo acquired bassist Dylan and bassist-come-guitarist Benjamin (whom Heather met while he was playing in another, Berlin-based, band), the quartet was complete. So far, they’ve played this year’s Green Man festival and have received praise from BBC Radio Six’s Steve Lamacq and BBC Radio One’s Jack Saunders. As for the future? Earlier this year HANYA announced a UK tour commencing this autumn – you can grab what remains of the tickets here.
New track ‘Amateur Professional’ is nothing if not snuggly situated among HANYA’s discography. The song treats fans to all the fuzzy vocals and signature psychedelia they might’ve come to expect. Opening with a throng of moody bass, skulking guitar and retro sound effects the track is bathed in an exacerbated tone.
The feeling is doubtlessly intentional; ‘‘Amateur Professional’ was written at a time when we felt our most cynical’, HANYA explained to The Joy of Violent Movement. ‘The track is about attempting to be a full-time professional in whatever it is you want, even if you feel like a lousy amateur a lot of the time. It’s a fighting song, for when you’re feeling like giving up’.
The sentiment is clearly in the air on Brighton’s shores and within Theo Verney’s producing studio, the release coming shortly after Public Body’s sardonic anti-establishmentarianism EP ‘Flavour of Labour’. Heather’s soft cries that ‘You wake up and it starts again / Don’t wake up it’s almost the end / You wake up and it starts again’ is almost chant-like.
The monotonous swirls of shoegaze lend themselves nicely to a track about the depressing repetitiveness of doubting yourself in a fake-it-till-you-make-it world. ‘Amateur Professional’ lacks the impressively itchy hook of some of HANYA’s other hits, but its admittedly more atmospheric for that. While perhaps not quite a rallying cry, the track offers a velvety soundtrack to the cynical position that modern day creatives are bound to find themselves in.
More music reviews from Kate, here.
Words by Kate Bowie