Melbourne singer-songwriter Emily Hatton has been releasing attention-worthy country-pop singles since the first, ‘Hades’, in 2018. Some of those singles have been covered here, which might prompt a question about whether Hatton’s newly released self-titled EP – which contains those singles – should be covered too. And it should, because collecting those songs in one release is a very good way of hearing, in a consolidated way, what Hatton has been building over those years: a catalogue of excellent songs.

The songs on this new EP are, mostly, songs for romantics and dreamers, and not in the way a lot of pop-influenced love songs purport to be but attempt to achieve by using limited vocabulary and even less imagination, suggesting that the audience is so simple minded that they won’t notice. Being romantic and being a dreamer might be uncool to some people but for other people that’s how they get out of bed in the morning. Having something to aspire to, something to hope for, can be a fundamental motivation. It’s those people – amongst others – who will find much to love in Hatton’s EP. That’s not to say that the songs on the EP have only one theme – they certainly do not – but it is honestly such a treat to listen to songs that are this whimsical and joyful as well as reflective and thoughtful and heartfelt.

Hatton has said that the main message she wants listeners to take away from the songs is that there is always light to be found. ‘Sometimes you have to go through a lot of dark to get there,’ she says. ‘And sometimes you just have to remind yourself to soak in every second. Life naturally has a roller-coaster of highs and lows, but I wanted to focus on the fact that there’s always light after a dark storm, and the sun sets, but it always rises again.’

All this is evident not just in the lyrics but in the way the songs have been produced. They are really well done, layered country pop, and Hatton has a voice perfectly suited to delivering them in a way that connects with the listener. We can hear the light and dark, and the history of each story behind the song, in the depth Hatton brings to the vocals.

‘I’ve learned that people start to heal when they feel heard,’ says Hatton. ‘The whole reason I want to put out music is to unleash the potential to make someone else’s life better, as other songwriters (and the cathartic, song-writing process itself) have done for me,’ Emily concludes. ‘My skills don’t lie in the amazing field of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other life-savers, but if I can inspire healing through music, then I’m living my purpose.’

Hatton has absolutely achieved this, and over and above that she’s made a great, entertaining record that feels like it is being released at absolutely the right time because these songs are needed, and on some level Hatton has intuited that. That makes her an artist who has already embraced her relationship with her audience, and who knows what riches that will produce next.