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‘Underground’: A Descent into the Cold War Dreams by Hannah Wyatt


“Underground,” a five-track EP by the indie-folk singer-songwriter Hannah Wyatt, is set to be released on July 7, 2023. This highly anticipated release serves as a musical meditation on the potential descent into a new Cold War, a chilling concept that Wyatt explores through each carefully crafted track.

Hannah Wyatt, an emerging figure in the indie folk music scene, is known for her melancholic sound that draws from a myriad of influences. Having started her musical journey in Upstate New York with a classical violin, she later branched out into writing and performing her own songs. Over the years, Wyatt has developed a sound that is hauntingly gloomy yet captivatingly relatable, blending rootsy acoustic instrumentation with compelling vocals..

Track-by-Track Exploration

The first track on the EP, “Stop Signs,” is a confessional about the unsettling realization of not having everything figured out. Wyatt delves into the facade of adulthood, acknowledging the fear and vulnerability that comes with traversing the world’s complexities. The song serves as an introspection, urging listeners to commune with their inner child to heal insecurities and weaknesses. This track sets the stage for an exploration of vulnerability in a daunting, adult world. This track creates a cavern of moody brooding sound that focuses on the subtleties of her voice in a lush garden of reverb. The track really takes an emotional stance once the keys (Rhodes perhaps) come into play. There is a swell and magical sparkle that feels like rain on a window pane. 

The second track, “Agneau,” reflects on the beauty and pain of romantic relationships and how they shape our view of humanity. It presents the evolution of the child from “Stop Signs” into adulthood, capturing the heartbreak and betrayal that life often brings. The track elucidates how such experiences can drive individuals to irrational extremes.

The titular track, “Underground,” marks a turn in the EP’s narrative arc. It mirrors a world on the brink of nuclear war, a commentary on current affairs in global politics and the looming threat of a new Cold War. Inspired by Joe Purdy’s “Hard to be a Prophet,” this song marries snarky lines with poignant reflections, encouraging listeners to contemplate the proximity of a potential global conflict. The playfulness in the guitar feels akin to something a bit more swing inspired. There is more reflection in the cadence, and the light accordion in the background completes the subtle warmth that permeates from start to finish. 

“Icebox,” the fourth track, paints a picture of a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear fallout. The song, with sinking violins reminiscent of falling bombs and distant sirens, attempts to recreate a drugged out psychosis, perhaps akin to the shock and despair of surviving a nuclear disaster.

Concluding the EP is “Brand New Phonograph,” a track that snaps back to reality and depicts an idyllic life filled with love. The protagonist realizes that the preceding nuclear war was merely a dream. The track serves as a metaphor for our current state – we are not at the brink of an apocalypse yet and we must strive to maintain the peace that we have.

“Underground” carries on Wyatt’s signature lo-fi bedroom sound while presenting a miniature ‘concept’ album. Each track tells a part of the story, from the innocence of youth to the harsh realities of adulthood, the threat of war, and ultimately the relief of waking from a disturbing dream. This EP stands as a testament to Wyatt’s ability to weave intricate narratives and deliver thought-provoking messages through her music.

Hannah Wyatt’s “Underground” offers a unique blend of haunting indie folk and dark Americana, inviting listeners to reflect on their individual experiences, the state of the world, and the potential future that awaits us. The dank and tangible desolation in the banjo is palpable as we delve into Wyatt’s musings on the possibilities of a new Cold War, we are reminded of the power of music as a medium for storytelling and social commentary.

Hannah Wyatt’s music is a hauntingly beautiful tapestry of indie folk and dark Americana, imbued with a timeless, vintage aura that tugs at the heartstrings. Her sound, refined through the lens of modern folk, carries a deeply melancholic yet captivating resonance, akin to a soothing lullaby sung in the quiet hours of the night. Wyatt’s enchanting vocals, marked by a quick, shaky vibrato, lend an urgency to her narratives, while the rootsy acoustic instrumentation provides a rich, textured backdrop that harks back to an older, more nostalgic era. Her music feels like an intimate conversation, a confessional whispered in the dim glow of a flickering candle, mesmerizing in its raw honesty and poignant in its emotional depth. It is this vintage charm and the organic authenticity of Wyatt’s sound that truly sets her apart in today’s music landscape​.