Multi-talented New York based singer/songwriter/model Hannah Cohen is back with Pleasure Boy the follow up album to her 2012 release, Child Bride. Producer Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman who has worked with the likes of The National, Antony Hegarty and David Byrne is back lending his skills on Cohen’s second offering. It seems the combination of Cohen’s voice and songwriting skills with Bartlett’s talents as a collaborator and pianist are a pairing made in musical heaven.
The opening track Keepsake sets the tone for the rest of the album with the inspiration deriving from a difficult break-up. The upbeat melody poses in stark contrast to the heart wrenching lyrics and anguish in Cohen’s voice, “here’s a keepsake for you, my heart in pieces, in pieces in two”. Keepsake perfectly captures that exact moment of heartbreak when a break-up is still raw. There is that sense of sheer desperation to hold on in lines such as; “tell me you still love me” and the realization that there might be someone else, “tell me her name”.
Haunting tracks such as Lilacs and Baby emphasize Cohen’s sweet, agile voice while paying homage to her rich poetry roots with lilting lines such as; “low lies in this here city only lilacs and promises from the wind”.
There is a clear nod to Cohen’s jazz lineage peppered throughout the album which has no doubt been partly influenced by her father who was a jazz drummer. Queen of Ice incorporates synth sounds with a bluesy coffeehouse vibe while Just Take the Rest introduces big band elements which work to heighten the sense of insecurity Cohen feels; “go easy on me love is it me you’re thinking of, don’t lie to me”.
Pleasure Boy gives the listener a glimpse into the many facets of heartbreak from the initial break-up to the longing for ones lost love and the insecurity of what lies ahead. Cohen cleverly channels these range of emotions with her supple vocal while carrying the listener with her on her deeply personal journey through the rough terrain of heartache.
Pleasure Boy is out now.