London-based musician Harriet Zoe Pittard aka Zoee has just dropped her debut LP which she has spent the last two years working on. Having previously released singles through Ryan Hemworth’s ‘Secret Songs’ imprint and Vegyn’s label Plz Make It Ruins, as well as guesting as a vocalist on tracks with Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and with hyper-pop collective PC Music, there is much anticipation for this Flaw Flower which is out via Illegal Data.
Writing for the album began in October 2018 when Zoee started working closely again with friend and long-term musical collaborator Rowan Martin. As the material for the record began to take shape the writing and recording process also evolved with the addition of bassist Kyrone Oak and keys player Laura Norman, as well as contributions from Ben Vince and London pop artist Saint Torrente. Saving her voice for this project, she’s been entirely focussed on this solo project since then.
Flaw Flower is an authentically vulnerable glimpse into Zoee’s interior world, a world she creates through marrying her real-life phone notes with imagery taken from modern works of literature such as The Flowering Corpse by Djuna Barnes, Sylvia Plath’s A Winter Ship and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. Through these 11 new songs, Zoee delves deep into her own emotional life, combining aspects of the everyday with the surreal in order to uncover the beauty found in being flawed. With a very wabi-sabi perspective to life running through this album, there are idiosyncrasies to this album.
The record nods to the avant pop of the 80s, an era that Zoee has always been drawn to thanks to the expressive and trailblazing music of women including Joan Armatrading, Cyndi Lauper and Rose McDowall. From the first listen I can hear a more nuanced and literary Cyndi, with the same sense of open honesty and exposition. The album is characterised by a mix of hi-fi and lo-fi instrumentation which makes sense considering her past history of collaborators.
The Loft features a free jazz solo from acclaimed experimental saxophonist Ben Vince alongside stock GarageBand synths. Zoee sources foley sounds from YouTube and pulls from her own domestic field recordings, such as a microwave buzzing in Microwave and a shower running in Evening Primrose, often using these sounds as the starting point for the songs. Whilst definitely clutching onto DIY bedroom sounds but with a more expansive band sound, Zoee has written a mostly melodic and upbeat summer LP of eleven tracks that will raise your spirits, though her lyrics may occasionally drag you down again. No Great Endings is as about as good an example of that as any other, and a fantastic opener to a varied and eclectic pop album. Do yourself a favour and check out Zoee’s Flaw Flower.
Flaw Flower is out today, via Illegal Data