Wedding Present bass player Melanie Howard’s solo project – Such Small Hands – released its debut solo album Carousel on 18 September 2020.

Taking in influences such as Bjork, Portishead, Chelsea Wolfe, Sharon Van Etten, Anna Calvi and Joni Mitchell, Such Small Hands blends dark pop with twinges of quirky folk and electronica.

Carousel is a collection of songs that Melanie has been “writing, playing, morphing, hiding, throwing away and reviving again” across more than 10 years. “While my life has changed dramatically and repeatedly across that time, so has my writing and my musical tastes. Despite this, I still felt like these songs belonged together on one album. It’s a journey back in time when I hear many of them, and a reflection on my current self in others,” she says.

Since joining The Wedding Present full time in 2018, Melanie says she has absorbed a great deal from David Gedge and, although her solo work is far removed from that of The Wedding Present, the character and resonance of her recordings will remain pertinent for the band’s audience. “Being part of The Wedding Present has really helped me shape and develop my own writing, despite it being a very different style. The things I’ve learned through David’s approaches to song-writing and the music industry have given me the confidence to put my work out there properly,” she says.

Exploring themes such as heartbreak, personal trauma, and broken relationships with honest, stark reflections on mental health, Carousel is a collection of deeply melancholic songs that swerves from one emotion to the next. From the dark, brooding ‘Lonely Is The Rain’ and distant beauty of forthcoming single ‘Do I Belong Here?’, to the ethereal soundscapes of ‘Still Dreaming’, there is an irresistible DIY ethos to the album, as each song revolves around delicate guitar work and heartfelt vocals. Elsewhere, ‘Electric Touch’ and the painfully, self-examining ‘Why Am I like This?’ continue to explore feelings of isolation and vulnerability, before a sense of catharsis is finally reached on the album with the electro-pop tinged ‘Carousel’.

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