EP REVIEW: Hope D – Cash Only

Hope D is an emerging artist who has rapidly built a fanbase that thoroughly understands her artistry and the message she wants to convey. The Brisbane based singer-songwriter has been building everything organically through independently releasing her music, and has already sold out headline shows with only four official singles out which is an impressive feat within itself. But now she’s adding a debut EP to the mix which cements her fulfilled vision in the introductory chapter. 

‘Cash Only’ is a seven track collection of pure indie-rock with a hint of pop hook songwriting. With the impressive four singles finding their way onto the body of work, it gives you this hit-after-hit trajectory. ‘Swim’ is the song that started it all, but ‘Second’ has ultimately become the moment that so many people have universally related to. Coming in at #69 on the 2020 Hottest 100, the story of self destruction is heralded through this punchy hook that beckons to be screamed along to during a show. The production is experimentally charged and hears her incorporating a spoken word verse which is a delivery she’s implemented into some of her other unreleased material. And for this song she’s included an exclusive extended version on the EP which gives you 24 more seconds of ‘Second’ chorus goodness. 

‘Common Denominator’ is the underrated single that is an anthem for the LGBTQIA+ community as it explores the naivety behind her first relationship where the two were set up by their “friends” and didn’t have anything in common other than both being gay. It’s a storyline that is so common in the queer world and is so refreshing to see covered in a punchy and angsty pop-rock way. “Just cause we’re gay, don’t mean we match” is a lyric that I didn’t realise I needed to hear in a song, and it still feels like it hasn’t been appreciated the way it deserves to be.

Recent single ‘Miscommunicate’ has continued her success story with a relatable reflection of relationship miscommunication. And again she’s brightened it up with a big pop-rock hook, but as she looks toward the other three songs on the EP she takes a different approach. EP opener ‘Addict’ has been a favourite in her live set for a while now, and for this track she prominently inserts a twangy guitar with a spoken inclined vocal delivery which gives the song a big blues vibe which builds up into this distorted guitar solo. Confessing her addiction to gambling at the age of 18, she gives one of her most vulnerable lyrical unravellings yet. “They say I’m addicted to the chips I can’t eat. They say I’m addicted to the drinks I don’t need. They say I’m addict to pills that help me sleep. But I can’t sleep without them, so does that make me an addict?” she sings. 

‘Life Sentence’ then strips things back with a minimalistic approach to production while ‘Outro’ takes an expansive and experimental direction with vocoder, synths and distortion contrasting a very vulnerable ravelling of emotions. 

‘Cash Only’ is a strong showcase of Hope D’s storytelling, and her way to build soundscapes that compliment and contrast these emotions. She’s only seven songs into her artistic story, and it’s safe to say she’s only getting started.