US-born, Germany-raised, London-studied, Melbourne-based dream-pop producer/songwriter Anika Ostendorf is Hachiku and she’s just released her debut LP I’ll Probably Be Asleep. The album references the sunshine of Beach House, whilst contrasting with tension and themes of angst and nomadism.
Ostendorf leads Hachiku; which includes three other band members Georgia Smith, Jessie L. Warren and Simon Reynolds. But the project really is Ostendorf’s baby, born in her bedroom as self-produced lo-fi pop, building upon her self-titled 2017 EP, which included popular single “Moon Face”. A lot has happened to Ostendorf since then, evidenced by I’ll Probably Be Asleep, an album which is slicker in production and more developed lyrically, with a relatable but vexed tone.
For starters, she’s toured with Courtney Barnett (who she got to know while interning at Milk! Records), The Breeders and Jose Gonzalez across the USA, Europe and Australia. On the flipside, there’s been frustrating immigration challenges having originally moved to Melbourne from London as a biology exchange student, before finishing that degree in the UK and coming back to Australia to be with her partner and to continue to work at Milk! where she’d found a like-minded community.
Fourth track “Bridging Visa B” gives a lot away in the title, which sees Ostendorf reveal her disillusionment with the whole immigration process and authority’s enquiry into her private life.
She tackles grief, desiderium for new experiences and climate change denialists who don’t listen on the album. There’s a lot of those classic twenty-something themes. But there’s also Ostendorf’s angelic voice, sun-drenched instrumentation and an enchanting summery tone which feels blissful.
It doesn’t start off that way though, with the title track (one of two songs featuring the whole band) opening with guitar feedback, before Hachiku launches into their trademark dream-pop jam while Ostendorf yearns for something better, sounding a lot like Victoria Legrand.
The echoing guitar on “Busy Being Boring” is gorgeous, while third track “You’ll Probably Think This Song Is About You” investigates another yearning – this time, to be somewhere else. This theme comes up again in tense fifth track “Dreams Of Galapagos” which is somewhat confusing given Ostendorf’s history and the effort she’s made to live in Australia. But who doesn’t get disenchanted from time to time?
Backtracking, the summery slide guitar and energy in “Bridging Visa B” is a standout. While “Shark Attack” chugs along with emotion and intensity as Ostendorf grieves the loss of the family dog. That track, in particular, showcases Ostendorf’s songwriting talent, articulating something relatable and intense, like the loss of a beloved pet, but also plainly mundane that it’s amusing, with the line “got that hair stuck in my throat”.
On the surface, there’s a lot of warm sunshine in Hachiku’s dream-pop debut album. But there’s also some lyrical finesse, which borders on angry at times, but also delightful in its relatability too.
THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Wednesday 25th November
M Pavilion & Open House: Merge: Music + Architecture
Saturday 12th December
8pm EST / 5pm PST / Sunday 13th December 1am GMT / 12 noon AEDT
Baby TV – album performed in full