Review for Gretel Hänlyn – Slugeye – 7-Track EP – 2022
Facts about the EP
Artist: Gretel Hänlyn
County of Origin: UK, London
Format: 7-Track EP / Download, Stream
Label: VLF Records
Release Date: 05/05/2022
Genre: Alternative und Indie
7 Tracks • 20m 42s
At qobuz available in Hi-res, Download
and Stream @ 24-Bit / 44.1 kHz, stereo
At Apple Music available in Hi-res,
Stream only @ 24-Bit / 44.1 kHz, stereo
For the German translation of
this review >>> click here <<<
About Gretel Hänlyn and her EP
Following the announcement of her sold-out first headline live show, Gretel Hänlyn has released her debut EP Slugeye on 05/05/2022 via VLF Records. The EP features the enchanting title track „Slugeye,“ the gorgeous, cinematic „It’s The Future, Baby,“ the rollicking self-discovery anthem „Motorbike,“ and her latest single „Apple Juice“ – one of her most confessional songs to date, with a range, emotion, and skill far beyond her years. She is then joined by new focus track „In The Water.“
Although still early in her career, Gretel has already received major support from Clash, NME, Crack, Wonderland, The Independent, Fred Perry and The Line of Best Fit, and has been featured by Clara Amfo, Jack Saunders and Sian Eleri on BBC Radio 1, Steve Lamacq on 6Music and Jess Iszatt on BBC Introducing. The up-and-coming artist was also featured as a vocalist on Mura Masa’s single „2gether,“ which has since been streamed over 7 million times on Spotify.
At just 20 years old, London-based Gretel Hänlyn aka Maddy Haenlein refuses to be pigeonholed. Her sound is a mixture of grunge, private-apocalyptic stuff in the style of Nick Cave and relaxed, with absolute brilliance pushing forward alternative power pop numbers. Thematically and lyrically, Gretel’s songs shine with beauty, sometimes sinister beauty, even as she weaves grotesque everyday situations into her songs with equal parts spot-on light and darkness, dystopia and fantasy.
Her pseudonym derives from a great-aunt who grew up on a vineyard in Germany and also happens to be Maddy’s doppelganger. The daughter of a carpenter and an artist, Gretel was constantly surrounded by creativity throughout her childhood, and her style is inspired by the figures of her formative years: a summation of Nirvana’s angsty approach to alternative pop songwriting, the vocal qualities of Nico & The Velvet Underground, and the narrative storytelling of Nick Cave.
The result is her own unique sonic universe, coherent and full of shadowy intrigue. Gretel Hänlyn is a sorceress with a deep-reaching voice and immense vocal range – a sorceress and artist to keep an eye on.
The Bottom line (this time so detailed)
Some music releases hit the stores, you buy the files, give them a quick listen, and with a thumbs up, you turn your attention to other things. Two days later, you turn on YouTube on the TV and watch ARTE Concert. There is Echoes with Jehnny Beth playing and she is presenting …Gretel Hänlyn, you watch for a few minutes and suddenly it’s making … click.
Gretel Hänlyn aka Madeleine Haenlein is great, her vocal range is huge, she can go all the way down with her voice, smoky and captivating, all the way down to the basement, but also all the way up the vocal ladder. In addition, she plays one (one? – several !) guitar(s) and has an incredibly good band.
After the ARTE gig you are totally flashed for minutes, finally you run the 7-tracker on the big system and realize that the final mix in 24-bit 44.1 kHz hi-res sounds excellent over the entire frequency range.
Gretel also plays mostly the guitar and bass, the drums were programmed, the synths and all the electronic stuff (used in good doses) was done by Mura Masa’s production team, as well as the guitars and bass on a few other tracks. All in all, Mura did a kick-ass job on the production, giving Gretel more than enough room to unfold, it should be like that all the time. Mura has managed to refine the production without grinding away the edges and corners that Gretel needs urgently. Respect, man.
For days you are now dealing intensively with the lyrics. Gretel has something to say. Makes statements. Gretel brings the small nasty everyday apocalypses to the point with an invisible analytical lyrical scalpel, like under an electron microscope.
That’s the good thing, Gretel, has something to say with every song – she describes the little shitty crises that get you down. And that’s also the nasty thing about it, if you’re in the middle of a crisis yourself, Gretel might pump the water out of the entire Rhine into your eyes.
But the small difference is that Gretel doesn’t tell you some holy-world shit in a white dress in front of the piano. Nah. You know, Gretel is so completely different. She can open your eyes, reach out to you with meaty lyrics and say: „And now, damn it, get your ass back up, man“.
That’s exactly what various young artists, who have been hijacked by an exploitative label that deals mainly with young stars, simply can’t do – because that doesn’t fit into the marketing concept.
No. You know, Gretel is so completely different. She can open your eyes, reaches out to you with a lyrical statement and says: „And now, damn it, get your ass up again, man“.
The white woman, with the white dress in front of the white piano in the recording studio of the exploitation label, which mainly deals with young stars, will never get that done within the next 10 years.
So Gretel Hänlyn now makes herself comfortable in my huge digital archive (yes, I stream and what is good, I also buy – you can also make a habit of it). And Gretel is re-sorting the orders and rankings in my archive.
Gretel feels comfortable in the digital society in my archive next to acts like King Hannah, Tess Parks, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan, Cowboy Junkies, John Hiatt, Cracker or John Mellencamp. I just saw: Grandmaster Bruce Springsteen just bowed reverently to Gretel in my archive. I can understand that completely.
And, dear critics‘ guild, stop pushing Gretel into the grunge corner. Sure, she likes the stuff, and Nirvana were awesome. I think so, too. But never forget what the international major record industry did to this genre. They sold it out, sold it dead, anything with long hair and a low hanging guitar slung around their shoulders was sold to the public as „the next big thing“. Scraps without end, which could then be found as cut-outs in massive stocks starting at 1 € on the Woolworth grabbing tables.
And please, this must never happen to Gretel Hänlyn.
So folks, this is my last review in the time-honored form on my website waterdomemusic.de and in the diluted form here on Instagram. I’m now allowing myself some time off until November 18, 2022, because then the new Röyksopp entitled „Profound Mysteries III“ will be released and I’m allowed to officially report on it again, which makes me very happy.
Then I also want to be ready to go again with a new concept and an automated digital Instagram connection to WordPress. And you will then again be able to read and hear about new music, new videos and hot acts on Instagram. But everything will be automated, I will never appear on this platform again, unless I have something to hack with some acts, labels, or some management.
And there is another difference to artists, agencies, or the management companies, which constantly propagate the proximity to the fan, to the scene etc., but do not get it baked to react to inquiries by mail. Gretel ALWAYS responds in the shortest time and gives the information you need.
Oh, …. I just found out that there is a track from Gretel called „2Together“, which can be found on the new album „Demon Time“ by Mura Masa, who also produced the EP „Slugeye“ by Gretel, which was reviewed here. And the album of Mura Masa is a blast, I just require the full EPK incl. WAV files and I’ll write a review and push it in somehow quickly… Mura, is that okay?
Rating zu Gretel Hänlyn – Slugeye
The Bottom Line
See above! (max. 5 Stars!)
Studio 1 (High End):
- 2 x System Audio SA Mantra 50 (front)
- 1x System Audio SA Mantra 10 AV (center)
- 2x System Audio SA Legend 5 (Rear)
- 1 x System Audio Saxo 10 (Subwoofer)
- 4 x Onkyo SKH-410 (B) (Dolby Atmos)
- Auralic Altair (Audio Streaming Client mit max. 32 Bit / 384 kHz)
- NVIDIA Shield Pro mit Plex, Kodi (max 192 kHz für Audio, Tidal (MQA Streaming Client)
- AppleTV 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Amazon Cube 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos (restricted), HDR, Dolby Vision
- Panasonic DP-UB9004 (4K UHD Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Oppo UDP-203 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
- Yamaha CX-A5100 (Preamp) 4K, Dolby Atmos, Hi-res
- Yamaha MX -A5000 (Power Amp)
- Sony KD-55A1 (TV) 4K OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision
Studio 2 (Near Field): Studio 3 (Consumer):
Studio 2 (Near Field):
Studio 3 (Consumer):