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Hanorah - Perennial - Vinyl

Hanorah - Perennial - Vinyl

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Hanorah’s debut album “Perennial” explores the paradox of intimacy: it is as difficult as it is necessary. In the past 7 years, the singer-songwriter collected stories that weave the dark side of romance and humour in heartbreak with personal moments of self-reflection. She visits and revisits these subjects with affection for her past-self, and a little bit more wisdom this time around. The music reflects the intimate themes—often clear, with minimal added effects, her sound evokes equal parts levity and nostalgia. In contrast, Hanorah sings with a certain emotion and command; her voice can be warm and sensitive one moment, then powerful the next. All these natural elements blend well into a personalized sound, grounding the album with a distinctly human quality.

Hanorah’s lyrics often reflect a strange comfort within a conflict. “Coffee” is a song that expresses gratitude for intimate moments that might be normally overlooked, while hinting at the doubt that creeps in as a relationship matures. Lyrical snapshots of “swollen morning eyes” and “dry, hot hands in mine” are ambiguous, evoking the unglamorous moments that come with love. Hanorah sings with a sensual quality that has a relaxing effect, and with a sensitivity that betrays her anxiety. Her vocal melodies express the open-hearted affection that is present when two people in a relationship come to truly know one another. She creates an alluring atmosphere around her words which describe this sentiment as one of “no apprehension in my bones,” while making a plea for her love to leave his baggage behind.

The album explores another side of intimacy with the song “Skeletons”, where Hanorah turns the focus inwards to explore her personality’s dark corners. This act is a compassionate and honest one, even though it pinpoints aspects of the self that may resist scrutiny. “Skeletons” is an interesting juxtaposition to the previous song, “Coffee”, suggesting that close relationships can often trigger our defence mechanisms. Hanorah’s unique feel for music is especially moving in this song. Minimalistic and stripped down, the clear electric guitar plucking, sparse bass, and an occasional high hat provides the foundation for Hanorah’s versatile vocals to shine through. She builds emotional tension with her voice, finding relief, and repeating this rise and fall, as the song confronts certain “walls” and “apprehensions” that may fuel destructive patterns.

The album flies through highs and lows, but moves organically in a positive direction. The song “Good Love” radiates a lively energy. Placed later in the album, after stories of heartache and personal struggle, this song seems to be a product of going through these hard experiences. Hanorah expresses both the physical and intellectual joys of a healthy relationship. Her lyrics paint a picture of a romantic rendezvous, where there is chemistry between two people, combined with “communication and trust”—the necessities for a “Good Love”. The song is a celebration of love and human connection as a radical act in a world that feeds people media soaked with suffering.

“Perennial” comes to a close by revisiting the motif of intimacy in a new form. “Afterlife” approaches heavy subject matter in a gentle way—the complicated emotions of saying goodbye to a loved one during their final hours. The song shows the anticipation of grief that fill these moments, as well as the pride one feels for carrying on someone’s legacy. Hanorah’s descriptive lyrics speak of “sharing the same eyes”, being there to “hold his hand, stroke his head” to “see how the grief alleviates”. “Afterlife” is a fitting song to end the album. A goodbye to the audience, but also a reassurance that this is not really the end—a conviction that life will go on, in one form or another.

While her 2019 EP looks back at serious trauma and assesses the damage, Perennial is here, now, a beckon to water the grass we are standing on, so that we can be ready to face the same human problems head-on with new, hard-won perspective each time.

“The album itself is about repetition, cycles, the same subjects, themes and issues coming back around as if on schedule. Recurring dreams and experiences, and the growth they bring about. The songs were collected over a pretty long period of time, and I am still surprised by the fact that a song like Candle Wax that I wrote 7 years ago before I could really play any instrument ended up fitting on the same album as a song like If Life Were A Movie, which I conceived entirely by myself, about the same subject! The point of view has changed, and it's been interesting to witness and notice that, thanks to Joey actually! He noticed the connection.

The themes have to do with love, destruction, family, work, mental health, self-sabotage, self-discovery, identity, and trauma recovery. I sought a contrast of a smooth, airy mood, and other times it's more choppy and rhythmic. The more I change, the more I stay the same. Instead of fighting and judging it, or seeking to be something else, this album seeks to water the grass it's standing on.”
-Hanorah Hanley

released October 14, 2022

All songs written by Elizabeth Hanorah Hanley
Except for ‘Candle Wax’, ‘The Drudge’ and ‘Good Love’ co-written by Paul De Rita and Elizabeth Hanorah Hanley and “Slingshot” co-written by Elizabeth Hanorah Hanley, Maia Davies and Marcus Paquin
Produced by Jacques Roy

Hanorah: All vocals, electric guitar on ‘Solution’ and ‘Skeletons’, acoustic piano on ‘If Life Were A Movie’, ‘Solution’, ‘Afterlife’, additional percussion and hand claps
Olivier Cousineau: Drums, percussion, tambourine and shakers
Etienne Dextraze-Monast: Bass guitar
Paul De Rita: Electric and acoustic guitar, programming
David Osei-Afrifa: Rhodes piano and synthesizers
Christian Henegan-Comeau: backup vocals on ‘Afterlife’, ‘Skeletons’, ‘Solution’, ‘The Drudge’ and ‘Good Love’
Jacques Roy: additional bass on ‘If Life Were A Movie’, ‘Solution’, ‘Skeletons’, ‘The Drudge’, ‘Slingshot’, ‘Winter Shade’, ‘Afterlife’ and hand claps
Joseph Griffin: finger snaps and hand claps
Kevin Annocque: mouth trumpet on “If Life Were A Movie”

Recorded at Les Studios Opus, Assomption, Canada
Engineered by Jacques Roy and Steeve St-Pierre
Mixed and edited by Jacques Roy
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montreal, Canada
Photography by Monse Muro
Styling by Amanda Van Der Siebes and hair / makeup by Brigitte Lacoste
Artwork by Siou-Min Julien
℗ & © Ensoul Records, 2022.
All rights reserved
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