Nick Helderman

Lena Hessels unleashes bewitching pop frightener “mare”

Lena Hessels‘s musical background is almost as tantalizing as her music. As the daughter of Terrie Ex, co-founder of legendary Dutch avant-punk pioneers The Ex, and artist Emma Fischer, Hessels is quite accustomed to running into legends such Getatchew Mekurya or Thurston Moore throughout her life.

Her debut LP Billow and her stunning contributions to supergroup The Industry (which also features members of Personal Trainer, Lewsberg, and The Homesick, among others) still explored the fringes of punk and noise. Conversely, her upcoming solo material – recorded with Tender Blom, guitarist, and brother of Pip Blom – takes a confident plunge into cutting-edge pop.

“mare” sounds like it treads in purgatory between dream state and awakening: alluring, cinematic sounding strings (courtesy of none other than Macie Stewart) and whispered vocals are up close at the interior, while the harsh, creeping electronic beats throb like a rave party taking place behind a thin wall. In an interview with Dutch platform 3voor12, Hessels says the song was informed by a series of anxiety dreams.

“‘I dreamt I was trying to catch a train, and I didn’t succeed. And that action repeated itself over and over. I really wanted to incorporate that irritation into the beat. How did I interpret those dreams myself? I’m quite a perfectionist, I like to do everything so well. I had to try a lot, figure out what I don’t want until I found something that actually worked. Now I think: “Ah, I found it anyway!” Kind of.’

Listen to “mare” below, or on other streaming services.

Though there is no EP or album announced officially, Lena Hessels’s ability to marry pop with punk’s fearlessness should bring us more exciting sounds in the near future. You can follow Hessels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.