Paddy Hanna

Imagine I'm Hoping

LP - yellow vinyl

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Paddy Hanna, Ireland’s best-kept indie secret, releases his fourth studio album Imagine I’m Hoping via Strange Brew.

There are few artists who could count Burt Bacharach and Fontaines DC amongst their fans but Paddy is one of them. The Dubliner has long eschewed passing fads in favour of timeless melodies and fine songwriting, leading indie music bible The Quietus to call him “a songwriter with a propensity for wildly infectious hooks and choruses that burrow into your brain with no intention of leaving.”

Album opener ‘Look For Tomorrow,’ with its bright strums of guitar and Paddy’s impressive falsetto, certainly embodies this sentiment of moving on from the past. The song ends on a bombastic note, buoyed by brass fanfare; it’s a watershed moment to prepare us for the rest of Imagine I’m Hoping.

‘A Dancer’ follows with indie fervour: furiously cascading piano, sleigh bells on the chorus, and an ebullience that propels you to the dancefloor. Paddy’s delivery is whisper-soft on the classic pop tune ‘New York Sidewalk,’ made with the help of frequent collaborator Daniel Fox (Gilla Band).

“The whole crux of ‘New York Sidewalk’ is that things in life that happen that can be bad can become funny in later life, you know,” he explains. “So, like, going to New York and trying to make a name for yourself out there, but instead making a tit out of yourself. But then the song ends looking back in a bit of a Hemingway situation, where you’re telling the story to someone and it’s like ‘It made you laugh, saw you smiling, that’ll do.’ See what I mean? It’s about not being a victim to the past anymore.”

The record as a whole is cinematic; ‘Say Goodbye’ and ‘Yellow Buffalo’ would be right at home in a modern Western, thrumming with harmonica and rattling, Americana-inspired percussion. The jazzy ‘Symphony Bacalao’ is positively vaudevillian, and Paddy shows off his unexpected sense of humour here, declaring, “Oh, what a shit show!”

The much-anticipated follow-up to 2020’s The Hill, this new record has already gained early acclaim with lead single ‘New York Sidewalk’ proving one jangly, jovial chord at a time that it is possible to climb the radio charts with a song that as far from generic as they come. Nialler9 wrote that it “bursts with shimmering piano notes, parps of brass and gorgeous backing” and Stereogum speculating that the “wistful, lush song, all plinking piano and cooing background vocals” may be signalling a new direction for Hanna.

With a new, more optimistic Paddy Hanna now in the driving seat, 2022 may well be the year that this idiosyncratic underdog rises up to take his rightful place centre-stage.
    Release Date: 17 Nov 22 Cat No: SBRO50