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Hannah Fairlight - Lone Wolf (self-released)

20 February 2024

The formal world of classical training is a world away from the live rock ‘n’ roll experience. Similarly, the urban metropolis of New York City must seem unrecognisable to someone from a small midwest town. But Hannah Fairlight has experienced all of them and more besides. More in that she busked and backpacked her way around the world, gigged across Europe, and got a TV break via the show Crazy Hearts: Nashville.

But it was her landing the role of the street-smart, rabble-rousing rocker, Veracity in Pitch Perfect 3 that not only brought her much wider recognition but was also champagne casting for her. That character resonates with who Hannah Fairlight is; since then, she has been a guiding light that lies at the heart of everything she does.

Now, four albums and ten years into her musical career, she brings us Lone Wolf a salvo of songs that blend pop-infectiousness and punk spirit, old-school rock and roll groove and gravitas and more modern, indie-inspired accessibility. Sometimes, all within the space of one song.

If the opener, “Fever”, has all the staccato riffed hallmarks of a Joan Jett classic, poised and polished for a broader, more contemporary audience, then “Loser” blends cutting-edge pop with a spacious, New Wave vibe. And if “Emotional Men’s” spoken word deliveries connect the sonics of, say, Avril Lavigne with the more subversive and literary approach of “Patti Smith* then the title track harks back to the earlier Southern vibes of her debut album, Creatures of Habit.

Hannah Fairlight covers a lot of musical ground on Lone Wolf, but this is no scattergun blast heading in all directions as there is a consistency and conciseness that comes from her personality that is the musical glue that holds it all together.

Her motto may be “Expect the Unexpected”, but when you play Lone Wolf one thing that you can expect is a rich and diverse platter of rewarding and satisfying music.