Isle of Wight singer-songwriter delves out a crash course in sarcasm on her playful and dark-humoured debut EP.
The increased prominence of and focus on down-to-earth and witty storytelling have seen a resurgent cluster of young, talented artists making their presence known in recent years. Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Lauran Hibberd’s lofty, guitar-driven indie pop breathes a newfound life into the most sedated of situations. Her open, humour-oriented personality has acted as her USP from the very beginning of her music career, managing to raise eyebrows and provoke smiles at every possible opportunity, and her debut EP cements Hibberd as a songwriter full of promise and intrigue.
One such song which raised the eyebrows of many upon first listen is Sugardaddy, a tongue-in-cheek bop encapsulating the sense of disconnection between reality and fantasy. Conceptually simplistic yet musically delightful with its fuzzy guitars, lyrics such as, ‘He’s old enough to treat me properly / In five more years he might die in his sleep’, glitter with the sort of sideways grin that would make parents shake their heads disapprovingly. ‘I had the song written down as a concept for a while and a lot of people said I probably shouldn’t write about that and I agreed with them at the time’, Hibberd said of the song. ‘Then I thought I might as well just do it anyway and see what happens! It’s written in total jest obviously, the concept of having a “sugar daddy” is in my mind a joke but the scary thing is that it exists. When we released the song, a sugar daddy website tried to use the song as an advertisement! I guess I wrote it as a joke suggesting that it would be all easier having an older man to fund your life. I’ve got a bit of a dark, twisted humour so stuff like that falls out of my mouth quote often. I was definitely worried about it though, because in this day and age, jokes like that are often missed so I was hoping that no one was taking it seriously’.
'When we released the song, a sugar daddy website tired to use the song as an advertisement!'
If Sugardaddy epitomized Hibberd’s dark humour perfectly, then Hootchie has her audience wrapped tightly around her finger. A deft slice of intoxicating self-affirmation, Hootchie’s punchy, driven and unapologetically confident nature highlights Hibberd as a leading light for current British talent. Lines such as, ‘You don’t have to go outside / Nothing hit you like my motorbike’, are as subtle as a brick through a car window yet retain the beguiling intrigue of the very best in slacker music. For someone so softly spoken and polite, the sass of the line ’It’s cute that you cried’ acts as an instant shock to the system whilst the lyrics ‘And if I was you / I would probably love me too’ have the audience smirking from ear to ear. ‘Hootchie is a 90s slang term for a bit of a loose woman, take that as you will’, said Hibberd; indeed, the track as a whole is a beautifully narrated farewell to toxic relationships.
'For the first time in her career, Hibberd has retracted the glass wall of humour that she uses so effectively to mask her innermost feelings.'
In between two heavyweight tracks, the grungier Frankie’s Girlfriend highlights the tongue-in-cheek nature of a strictly platonic but close friendship between a man and a woman. It brings a humorous touch to the psychotic tendencies of some individuals once locked into a relationship and is bolstered by its spiraling dual-pronged guitar attack, which reaches new sonic depths. However, the true highlight of the EP lies in the closing track. For all Hibberd’s talents as a humour-led lyricist and songwriter, Shark Week manages to charm an audience whilst offering an honest reflection on her own life. For the first time in her career, Hibberd has retracted the glass wall of humour that she uses so effectively to mask her innermost feelings. Shark Week showcases the singer-songwriter at her most primal and raw, revealing an alternative side to her persona that projects both vulnerability and songwriting talent.
Hibberd’s charismatic lilt chokes at the back of her throat as she affirms ‘We’re not kids but god does it feel like it’ – a line which reverberates a sense of honest serenity that makes the track destined to be screamed by adoring crowds, whilst repetitions of ‘When did the world get big?’ close the track in glorious fashion.
For an artist who has seemingly already perfected the smirking sarcasm-filled branch of indie-rock, it’s surprisingly refreshing to be offered an olive branch into Hibbard’s consciousness on the emotive, drawn-out Shark Week; it’s an introspective offering from one of Britain’s most charismatic new raconteurs. The deft weight of balance between humour-led anecdotes and carefully deconstructed social commentary is hard to manage for most artists, but Hibberd excels beyond some of the very best in the business. The EP as a whole is a smattering of sharp-tongued wit and charisma dipped in the retrospective honesty of an islander destined to make sharp inroads on the mainland.