Words: James Frostick

Claire McCarthy of Heart Beach fame is stepping into the limelight with a new solo project called Pretty In Pink. Today marks the release of Pretty In Pink’s self-titled debut cassette, out through Eternal Soundcheck. The cassette’s ruminative lead track ‘Letters’ has been given a visual treatment to accompany the release, giving life to the wistful pondering and minimalist acoustic strum featured within.

I’m a bit late off the mark, but I guess now’s as good a time as any to say Happy New Year. I’m starting the year slowly, steadily – taking a minute to check on myself before diving headlong into the next 11 months. There’s nothing like the start of a new year to encourage a bit of reflection, so I can’t fathom a more suitable track to start 2021 with than the new one from Pretty In Pink – the solo moniker of Heart Beach’s Claire McCarthy. Although Heart Beach released a handful of tracks throughout the year, they were conceived before the world was forced to deal with an onslaught of crises. Pretty In Pink’s eight-track cassette was likely crafted during this tumultuous time. The Naarm-based Claire probably kept busy during the city’s depressive lockdown months by penning this collection of tracks while cooped up inside – with a guitar as company. The resulting collection is out today, but release’s gorgeous lead song ‘Letters’ is what I’m focusing on right now. Steeped in melancholic feeling, this track is the kind that always seems to emerge when one spends too much time alone in their own head.

Soft acoustic pluck and breathy, sighing vocals form just about the entirety of the track’s sonic composition, through which Claire weaves in tender musings on the harsh reality of getting older. On ‘Letters’, it seems to me that Claire is grappling on the dissolution of things – friendships and/or partnerships that, at one point, seemed all-consuming but now have diminished to the point of near non-existence. Lyrical passages hint at a past where Claire lived for others – likely to her own detriment – constructing one-sided relationships that leave her hollow when they dissipate (“I try to make everyone love me / said that it’s my obligation / I consider my future / why I think I’m such a failure“). Conversely, Claire could be penning letters to the person she wanted to be, or thought she was. Not becoming that idealised version of the self is tough to reconcile for anyone entering their late-twenties and early thirties. Either way, as Claire delicately picks at her guitar in the silence of lockdown, these thoughts are brought into sharp relief and become inescapable. Transforming them into art is a sensible response. ‘Letters’ is, at its core, a relatable track for anyone who wrestles with the notion of getting on, what we’ve left behind and what we now must look forward to.

Pretty In Pink’s self-titled cassette is out now via Eternal Soundcheck. Check out the video for ‘Letters’ (created by Jason Boltex) below: