Hannah Cohen

Music often comes from a deep place, and in the case of Hannah Cohen’s stunning and heartrending second album, it’s very deep indeed. Mainly inspired by a painful break-up and the anxieties that loss can trigger, Pleasure Boy cushions its sadness in an exquisitely nuanced soundscape of aching melancholy and lush melody where Hannah’s vocal conveys all the different shades of heartbreak. Following the album’s completion, she’s survived the calamity and found a new level of happiness, but to paraphrase the classic Sixties hit, there will always be something there to remind her with Pleasure Boy.

‘Pleasure Boy’, like her debut ‘Child Bride’, was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, whose work with artists such as The National, Antony Hegarty and David Byrne singles him out as one of America’s current finest producers and collaborators, though he’s also a talented pianist. The dynamics of ‘Pleasure Boy’ was the result of Hannah and Bartlett, “bunkering down with my songs, experimenting with different tones and sounds, and layering them. My first record was so airy and roomy, I didn’t have patience for that again, I wanted more movement, something more mysterious and witchier, so we created this sound wall together.”

“I wanted the music to hurt, to have a visceral effect,” Hannah says. Her voice sometimes sounds delirious or icy; other times she recalls the vulnerable, piercing beauty of Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) and Karen Peris (The Innocence Mission). But Pleasure Boy‘s sound wouldn’t exist without the vision that launched it. The album title arrived as the record took shape. “Pleasure Boy is a character of who it’s about, someone who represents gluttony and decadence and richness,” Hannah explains. She admits it was a tough record to make, given she was aiming to heal emotionally while feeling “devastated and hurt. But it wouldn’t be the record it is if I hadn’t done that.”


“A lush, moving affair, through which Cohen emerges, part Elizabeth Fraser, part Lana Del Rey.”
Q – 4 Stars ****

“On the stark ‘Claremont’,she sounds like Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, twisting torch songs into interesting shapes; on the dipping, swelling ‘Keepsake’ she’s Joanna Newsom meeting Zola Jesus. The Vengeful Lennon-like ‘Watching You Fall’ is probably the pick of the bunch, but this is an album best taken whole. A tremendous leap forward.”
NME – 8/10

“From Lana Del Rey-like lushness on ‘Watching You Fall’ to St. Vincentesque menace on ‘Fake It’… Yet the strongest calling card is Cohen’s remarkable, crystal-clear voice, one minute a caress and a coo, the next bristling with rage. Brilliant.”
Sunday Times

“A studied, precise and explorative showcase of songwriting, equal parts accessible and experimental. A record deserving of widespread acclaim.”
DIY – 4 Stars ****

“Cohen has followed up her lonesome debut with something more lush… Pleasure Boy melds Cat Powerly ennui with a more stylised, Bryan Ferry-ish self-regard.”
Uncut – 7/10

“A witchier, ghostlier and more intricate work than it’s predecessor. Above the piercing atmosphere and expertly engineered soundscapes, Cohen wavers between Lana-like cool and Kate Bush at her vulnerable best. Either way, she’s always hypnotic.”
Loud & Quiet – 7/10

“Pleasure Boy is late-night listening: a web of brooding synths with pure pop pie underneath. We can’t tear our ears away.”

“She shoots a heavy dose of Lana Del Rey-laced anaesthetic in to the heart of Watching You Fall, while the jazz simmer of Queen Of Ice and Keepsake’s electro-drama break through the cocoon of betrayal and regret.”
MOJO – 3 Stars ***

“Short and bittersweet, her melancholy is carried off with elegance and her genre-defying compositions sit comfortably with her drowsily delivered tales of heartbreak.”
The Sun – 3.5/5

“A haunting album… Eight beguiling songs about loss and heartache… File between The Blue Nile and Holly Miranda.”

Pleasure Boy is out now.