Hannah Judge’s bedroom pop first caught our ears last year on her fanclubwallet EP Hurt Is Boring, written during a ten-month-long Crohn’s disease flare-up. On debut LP You Have Got To Be Kidding Me, out today on AWAL, Judge takes the vervy bass lines and drum machine beats that made her debut EP so irresistibly catchy and shines them up with glossier production. The result will hopefully garner her more bedroom-dancing fans: a Carly Rae Jepsen for staying inside, a GenZ Rilo Kiley.
On her EP’s song “C’mon Be Cool,” Judge says that she “went to bed and didn’t get out for ten months” during her bout with her chronic illness. Between that and the backdrop of the pandemic, when now-22-year-old Judge started leaning further into making music (Judge is also a comic artist; she drew the album’s art herself), there are a lot of solitary, self-reflecting feelings on the record. “It’s getting toasty / Up in here / Under the covers / Where I’ve lived for a year,” she sings on “Toast,” or “I deserve to be / With someone that hurts me / So I’ll just spend / All of my time with myself / I don’t need anybody else’s help,” on “Gr8 timing!”
On the record, Judge struggles with all aspects of a breakup—”Sometimes you miss / Sleeping next to them even if you / Don’t miss them anymore,” she sings on “Solid Ground,” and “Have you seen him around? / His mom keeps calling something’s going down,” on “Jar.” However, the album reflects personal growth: “The sound you make on solid ground / sounds good to you,” Judge repeats, as if reassuring herself that she is growing and moving on.
While the lyrics deal with lonely subjects, fanclubwallet’s instrumentals have shifted toward a bigger sound. The 2021 fanclubwallet EP was more on the lo-fi bedroom production side, but Judge and her producer/childhood friend Michael Watson managed to preserve everything that makes fanclubwallet fanclubwallet on You Have Got To Be Kidding Me. They enhance the band’s sound with even catchier production and chiptune/Nintendocore influences that integrate seamlessly with Judge’s harmonies and bass lines.
You Have Got To Be Kidding Me is out now. You can check out fanclubwallet’s upcoming tour dates on the band’s beautifully cartooned website, fanclubwallet.com.