Following a string of EPs, tours alongside Laura Marling and featuring on alt-J’s latest record, London’s Marika Hackman finally released her debut album We Slept At Last earlier this year. Filled with an electric blend of folk and electronic music, Hackman’s lyrics conjure up a Tim Burton-esque backdrop of forests full of shadows and chattering teeth. Settling fans into the debut record with a solo tour before hopefully touring later this year with a full band, tonight at the Bodega is an opportune chance to catch Hackman in an intimate setting before the buzz catches up to her.
Opening up many dates of this tour is Northampton’s Charlotte Carpenter. Having seen Charlotte perform before, I was expecting to be treated to a set laced with charming upbeat folk music. However, what I did miss was the reinvention of Charlotte Carpenter which suits her smooth vocals absolutely perfectly. Trading in the acoustic for an electric guitar with a light bit of distortion and a great deal of reverb, Carpenter focuses on a set with new material as well as a few songs from her more recent Take It All EP.
Opening up proceedings with a haunting guitar rendition of ‘Retina Television’, Hackman’s voice reverberates throughout the venue as she croons “pupils as deep as wells”. Her picturesque lyrics are at the forefront tonight, especially on ‘Claude’s Girl’ which Hackman describes as “a lullaby I wrote myself based off of the girl with flaxen hair by Claude Debussy”.
Acknowledging the hushed atmosphere in the room, Hackman jokes “you can clap along to this one if you want” before playing the melancholic ‘Monday Afternoon’. During most of the night, Hackman brings the audience’s attention to a huge fly darting across the room and expresses her fears of hitting a high note and swallowing the fly.
Although focusing most of the night on songs from We Slept At Last, fans were treated to older cuts. ’81’ is a particular highlight, taken from the Sugar Blind EP, Hackman’s delicately sublime vocals leave the crowd in shock and awe of her talent. This is made especially clear towards the end of the night where the fans politely request more songs from Hackman and form a queue going out the door to meet her.