Birmingham, UK, based artist, Hanwell has just released his debut single, I Won’t Let You Down. We’ve been taking a long hard listen here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today.
I Won’t Let You Down is a heartfelt message to his friends who are struggling at the moment. It’s a song to let them know it’s going to be alright in the end and that regardless of the pressures they may be feeling, he is there for them and he won’t let them down.
A positive message indeed and this indie pop track is well written and an impressive debut single.
I Won’t Let You Down starts with a really unique series of radio noise and sound effects before Hanwell’s vocals come in at about 20 seconds. In fact, it fades out in the same way, reminding us a little of Yellow’s The Race.
I Won’t Let You Down has lots of different sections to it, all held together by a catchy chorus with a repeated line “I won’t let you down”. The fact the line is repeated so regularly is countered by the changes in melody and rhythm of it, so at no point do you get the feeling he’s just repeating himself. He’s saying the same thing in a different way each time which, poetically, is often what someone struggling (or the subjects of his song) may well need to hear.
The hip hop style of electronic drums mixed with “real” instruments helps to give this song a modern, genre-crossing feel. There’s a “telephone effect” section in the middle (both top and bottom of the EQ removed) to change things up a bit. There’s even a small auto-tuned section on vocals just before the guitar solo at the end. I Won’t Let You Down really manages to draw influences from several different decades of music.
The repeated riff on the guitar solo to end builds nicely and helps maintain the listener until the stinger ending. A good choice of notes for the solo and a nice tone.
Vocally a little like Liam Gallagher, the lead vocals sit comfortably in the mix. There isn’t a great deal of range in the vocals, but we think that suits the song well. The background vocals make for an interesting addition as they’re not singing harmonies, they’re just being used almost as an extra instrument following its own melody.
From a production perspective, we’d suggest a small cut in the vocal track around 500-800Hz to eliminate a little boxy/nasally feel to the track. A boost around 100-150Hz will add some warmth and also some punch. A wide boost centred around 7-8kHz will give a little more presence and definition – especially in the vocal track, as well as a little more stereo and compression with make up gain of about 3-4dB to bring this track more into line with the volume of commercial releases. There’s several more suggestions we could make, but we’re not going to give away all of our tricks!
Suffice to say that this is a great song for a debut, and with the right team behind him, Hanwell has a great deal of potential to progress on the UK indie rock scene. We wish him well.