EP Review: Hope D’s ‘Cash Only’ EP is a gorgeously textured, multi-layered and expressive pop delight.

The Breakdown

'Cash Only' is a gorgeous EP that is filled with hope, uncertainty, honesty and also a sense of defiant pride and empowerment in a pure pop package.
Independent 8.5

Brisbane is battling for the title of the most creative indie pop centre of the southern hemisphere at the moment, epitomised by a number of acts like Hatchie and Mallrat featuring highly talented female artists that display a prodigious talent for songwriting. Brisbane’s Hope D is another case for the prosecution.

Her new EP ‘Cash Only’ is impeccable – seven servings of pure pop delight filled with raw and expressive lyrical themes. The innovative and fresh instrumentation provides perfect base for Hope D’s exquisite and passionate vocals. Hope D’s vocal indeed exhibit a dazzling range, interspersed with flashes of wit and self-reflection.

Hope D indeed has a message of positivity and empowerment that shines through the EP:

With everything I’ve ever written and will write, I want listeners to feel like they’re not alone. I aim to write with a wide range of topics, themes and feelings to try to make people know that they are not invisible.

Opening track ‘Addict’ is infused with a wry sense of humour and a dramatic musical base – Hope D’s voice is cynical and laid back – they say I’m addicted to chips I can’t eat – close to a hip hop styling. The wild and wailing guitars add incredible texture and complexity.

Second track ‘Miscommunicate’ track is deeply personal track about the travails of personal relations with a helpless romanticism – Hope D perfectly captures the universal frustrations of relationships:

‘Life Sentence’ displays Hope D’s harder edge – the layered sounds and crunchy guitars supplement her impassioned vocals pleading for understanding and tolerance. Opening with Hope D’s vocals to the fore, the harmonies are delightful and the tone playful before building up slowly like a burning fuse.

‘Second’ is a fast paced track with gorgeous liquid guitars bubbling in the distance and Hope D’s expressive vocals and lyrics providing an indelible charm. The sky-high chorus parades Hope D’s talent for anthemic melodies – the video showcasing the inherent self-deprecatory humour that threads throughout the tracks:

‘Common Denominator’ has a funky motown beat but is a hilarious exposé of the horrors of school and competition amongst peers. Hope D is so brilliant at capturing the minutiae of everyday life in a sparkling musical wrapper and ends up providing a riotous and joyous blast:

Indeed, there is a strong autobiographical thread that runs through the EP – capturing the complexities of friendships, sexuality and the rigours of everyday existence. No more perfectly presented than in ‘Swim’ where the lyric video expresses Hope D’s journey of self discovery, coming out and uncertainty so beautifully:

‘Cash Only’ is a gorgeous EP that is filled with hope, uncertainty, honesty and also a sense of defiant pride and empowerment in a pure pop package. It is out on 5 February 2021 and you can preorder/save here.

Hope D has also announced a series of gigs to launch the EP:

Hope D – Cash Only – EP Tour 2021

Friday 12th March: The Triffid, Brisbane

Saturday 13th March: Miami Marketta, Gold Coast

Friday 19th March: The Workers Club, Melbourne

Saturday 20th March: Grace Emily Hotel, Adelaide

Friday 26th March: The Hamilton Station Hotel, Newcastle

Saturday 27th March: Waywards, Sydney

Sunday 28th March: LaLaLa’s, Wollongong
Tickets on sale now from www.hopedmusic.com

Feature Photograph: Casey Garnsey

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