25th January 2019
1. Hatchlings / 2. Hollin / 3. Hinge Of The Year / 4. Hushabye Birdie / 5. Ash Girl / 6. Old Mother Eve / 7. Jack / 8. Silver Swan / 9. Sleeping Beauty / 10. Sunken Bells / 11. Scorching Sun / 12. Black Sheep / 13. When You're Weary
Hatchling is the boldly imaginative second album from Emily Portman, ‘one of the UK folk scene’s most beguiling presences’ (Uncut). Having established a name for herself with her twice BBC Folk Award nominated debut The Glamoury (2010), the richly emotive and often understated rawness of Hatchling presents a blossoming of Emily’s intricate songwriting while nodding to her traditional roots. The darker sounds of myth, magic and antiquity are heard murmuring beneath the surface of an inventive and distinctly contemporary sound. Drawing from lullabies, English broadsides and apple-tree wassails, Hatchling enters a carnivalesque world of fallen angels, and fantastical metamorphosis, set against a backdrop of England’s cities, shores and woodlands. Emily’s trio (with rising stars Rachel Newton and Lucy Farrell) provides harp and bewitching close-harmonies. Guests include critically acclaimed songwriter Alasdair Roberts, cellist Lucy Deakin (Methera) and guitarist Jonny Kearney (Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell). The title track `Hatchlings’ introduces fresh new sounds to Emily’s distinctive voice: mesmerizing banjos and ringing bells accompany interweaving strings and harmonies that tell the tale of Leda and her egg-hatched twins. ‘Hollin’, a bold and majestic ode to the joys of wild living mixes numerous layers of harp, guitar and dark strings with a chorus of otherworldly harmonies. A tipsy, carnivalesque edge creeps into Emily’s folk-noir style with ‘Hinge of the Year’, an intoxicating New-Year’s tale inspired by Angela Carter’s burlesque character ‘Fevers’ in Nights at the Circus. ‘Ash Girl’ is a haunting take on the fairytale of Ashputtle with skeletal accompaniment gradually fleshed out by eerie humming and the dark sound of bowed cymbals. The bright and quirky ‘Old Mother Eve’ is a subversive retelling of the myth of Adam and Eve, presenting Emily’s own writing sitting at home beside Apple-tree wassails. ‘Jack’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Scorching Sun’ present Emily’s writing at its most daringly raw and exposed, with tales of shipwreck, war and sleeping love. Fragmentary tales of mermaids, sea-goddesses and submerged cities surface in `Sunken Bells’, a song driven by sirenic voices, enchanting harp and banjos. Three unaccompanied lullaby extracts provide dramatic contrast to the layered complexity of the album; recorded live and unadorned ‘Hushabye Birdie’, ‘Silver Swan’ and ‘Black Sheep’ are a nod to Emily’s roots in folk song, nurtured during her years singing with Waterson: Carthy on their Frost and Fire tours. Hatchling closes with a tender lullaby for world-weary grown-ups, showing the Emily Portman trio at the height of their powers, singing in unaccompanied harmony. Hatchling rounds off a whirlwind year for Emily, with The Glamoury earning her widespread critical acclaim, international airplay, Mojo and fRoots top ten Folk albums of the year, not to mention a packed schedule of UK tours and festivals. 2011 has seen Emily become well known for her ‘lyrical and beautiful voice’ (Songlines) and bewitching live performances.