If you were to guess Hana Vu’s star sign after listening to her latest effort, double EP Nicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway, you’d probably say the DIY artist was a Gemini. The sign’s duality, represented by the symbol of the twins, seems to play out on the release, which skits between melancholia and ethereal dream pop textures to fragile optimism and thumping beats.
Co-existing opposites recur throughout the album, particularly in a sense of the strange existing within the familiar, like an unshakeably eery sense of deja-vu. This sensation becomes particularly striking in a distorted, lo-fi cover of ‘Reflection’ from 1998 Disney feature film Mulan and the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of ‘At The Party’ (which would be at home in any pop song about shitty exes), set against an oneiric soundscape.
It would be easy to conclude that these contrasts are a result of Vu’s tender age (she’s still at the tail-end of her teens, knee-deep in a process of experimentation and self-discovery) but this feels somewhat over-simplistic. Rather, it seems like the L.A. resident’s pointing to the fractured nature of identity itself. By naming the EPs after two women who literally make their living from pretending to be who they’re not, she’s clearly passing comment on the masks that we all too often find ourselves hiding behind.
This latest effort seems like a lesson in inconsistency; concluding that rather than straining to exist coherently, the ‘self’ must allow itself to encompass human nature’s contradictions.