Manchester based Abbie Ozard releases escapist, 90s-tinged new EP ‘let’s play pretend’ via LAB Records today.
‘breakdowns’ is an observational track, riffing on the disconnect that can rise from leaning too far into an online life – coupled with a sense of treading water in a small town. It’s acutely self-aware in its analysis, as explained by Abbie:
“I wrote this tune after a massive conversation about Generation Z. I’m intensely guilty of the accusations we make in this song – how life is online, and how we deal with our problems through social media.
Before moving away last year I was the last one of my friends left in my hometown, and it felt kinda shitty. I loved living with my parents, they’re my best mates, but something in me felt like I wasn’t moving on with my life and it felt strange. Twenty-something is a difficult age and there’s a huge lack of direction and pressure coming from every angle. Going about the song in a sarcastic way felt appropriate as we’re all guilty of announcing breaks from social media and complaining. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s found the word breakdown relatable recently…”
Quickly building acclaim with her penchant for wistful coming of age tales, Abbie Ozard nails the ennui, anxieties and liberation of early 20s social navigation in her beachy indie – as evidence both by ‘breakdowns’, as well as the rest of the EP. The collection is laced with escapism as a coping mechanism:
“This whole EP is me romanticising my life. It took me a while to realise this as I considered each tune to be so separate. But after a late night of thinking, it dawned on me that each song on the EP is literally just me playing pretend haha!
In pink sky I’m completely romanticising a relationship that didn’t work out, I guess I was trying to reassure myself that it was right but it totally wasn’t, we were best friends and we’re so much better off as best friends.
tv kween is about pretending I’m this main character that I’m completely not, it’s about aspiring to be someone else, which is super unhealthy, but so common.
true romance is again, me pretending I’m in this mad 90’s Quentin Tarantino movie and completely romanticising driving around with my boyfriend and (embarrassingly) feeling like I’m in a film, with my head out the window.
I just want people to know that it’s totally okay for them to pretend they’re in a separate airy fairy world, like why not ?! The world is too much of a dark place not to!”
Her sound has evolved into its own space, with the help of Rich Turvey (Oscar Lang, Vistas, Blossoms) on co-production duties across most of the EP – and Ben Matarvers (Easy Life) on ‘breakdowns’ – to combine a humour indebted style of indie-pop with grittier, stylised stateside sounds of Best Coast or Day Wave.
She’s emerged into a supportive scene with contemporaries Lauran Hibberd, Whenyoung and Phoebe Green, touring with the former two at personal request, and establishing her own cult set of fans.
Signing with Liverpool based Modern Sky for management, before LAB Records, a hot streak of releases has seen acclaim build across all fronts. Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens have consistently backed across BBC Radio 1, with Abbie McCarthy and Chris Hawkins offering spins at BBC 6 Music. Her growing catalogue has had over 2 million streams already, including strong support in Spotify’s flagship Indie playlists.
On the live front, as well as prize tour slots, she earned praise for her BBC Introducing performance at Bluedot Festival in 2019, and has been selected to perform at this year’s Liverpool Sound City and Live At Leeds.