Hannah Cohen’s latest project might never have come about if it wasn’t for the intensely crowded environment of her home city: New York. Stuck in a cramped apartment in Brooklyn, the 32-year-old was suffering from the frustration of being unable to escape her surroundings, spending months searching for a new apartment with her partner, only to be met with overpriced and “gross” offerings. The struggle put her in something of a creative rut, even recalling her small bathroom as the only space that could provide the solitude needed to focus on writing in the busy urban world that surrounded her.
It then feels natural that her third album – the aptly titled Welcome Home – captures the uplifting experience of finally finding a new haven, and the 10 tracks here radiate a sense of freedom and ease that comes with feeling at home somewhere. Things start off with the blissful ‘This Is Your Life’, with its melody gently dancing like a mirage, lyrically showing where Cohen’s mental state is at, and her desire to stop the mundanity of life disrupting her happiness. Elsewhere, the bittersweet ‘Old Bruiser’ and ‘Build Me Up’ offer a nostalgic quality, and are some of the strongest moments on the album.
There’s a fluidity and lightness in Cohen’s songs, as her acoustic guitar and angelic, floaty voice are quilted in an oceanic dream-pop aesthetic, bringing to mind acts such as Kacey Johansing and Japanese Breakfast. Those searching for something more immediate might be left unsatisfied (it does all get a bit airy and overly delicate at times), but overall it captures a positive new transition, like waking up on a sunny Saturday morning.