Hannah Fury: Through the Gash [review]

It’s been seven long years since Hannah Fury stole onto the music scene with her quietly incendiary album The Thing That Feels. Now, after an intermission dotted with EPs, she returns with her second full-length Through The Gash, which judging by the sleeve alone promises to be as disconcerting as its predecessor.

And she doesn’t disappoint: Fury’s newest release combines her trademark Kate Bush-esque whisper with the electro-pop of Choirgirl-era Tori Amos. But don’t think she’s merely another pseudo-gothic imitator. Through The Gash is sensitive and imaginative, uniquely vengeful and confiding, marking Fury out as an artist long overdue for some real critical attention.

‘Defenestration’ kicks off the album, all plodding drum machine and eerie synthesisers rising to a funereal overture with the words “coming at you like some tattered corpse bride / coming at you so stand aside”. ‘No Man Alive’ follows and is an undeniable album highlight. Circus music flickers into a murmured challenge for a lover who can match her own idiosyncrasies, punctuated by ear-splitting shrieks.

‘Girls That Glitter Love The Dark’ and the blackly catchy ‘Carnival Justice (The Gloves Are Off) Part II’ may already be familiar from last year’s excellent Subterfuge EP, but occupy a no less essential place here, wedged between more sympathetic arrangements like ‘Don’t Be Scared’.

Fury does malevolence like Martha Stewart does apple pie, but she can also be convincingly tender. ‘Carousel’ is a wistful tune complemented by a pared-down music box straight out of a nursery scene, while ‘Never Look Back’ capriciously echoes different sentiments. On ‘Where The Wounds Are’, Fury sings, “just weave all your sadness into a song”, later altering the refrain to “weave your nightmares into a song”.

Fans have commented that Through The Gash seems somehow more personal than her previous material (some of which was inspired by the Gregory Maguire novel ‘Wicked’, now a major musical theatre triumph), and lyrics like those in ‘Where The Wounds Are’ certainly supports this. Whether singing of woes or terrors in the night, however, Fury continues to deliver some of the most subtly powerful music around.