The Embrace (EP) by Hazel Mills

Release date: May 19, 2023
Label: Self-Released

When you’re on the road with two bands, Goldfrapp and Florence + The Machine, there comes a point where you want to step into the limelight and prove fans by coming out of your comfort zone and bringing your songs to life. For Bristol-based musician and songwriter Hazel Mills, she has stepped forward to unveil her creation with her 4-track EP, The Embrace.

Dealing with the themes of nature vs modernity, Mills goes as far as she can go by tackling the subject matter, heads on with different sides to the story. The Embrace goes deeper and deeper into that dark and hidden world where Hazel takes us.

Following in the footsteps of Kate Bush, Japan, Eurhythmics, and Delia Derbyshire, Mills herself is like a boxer in a boxing match, punching out one opponent after another. And she has proven herself to be the truest champion of the world.

And you can imagine that her fellow comrade Allison Goldfrapp has her back, no matter what. ‘Enclosure’ starts off with a synth-like percussion beat that Alex Thomas creates on his kit while Hazel visions herself in the middle of a heat-extreme outdoor world, being free from all of the craziness that’s going on, and trying to move forward.

The title-track dives deeper into The Anchoress’ territory from her first two albums that Mills walks into Catherine Anne Davies’ shoes in a mournful ‘80s synth arrangement. It has a futuristic quality to the oceanic seas, and what the next chapter will bring to them.


Thomas’ drum work lifts her spirit up by walking into that hallway of mirrors, reflecting the past and present. Good and bad, you have to embrace it, fight back tears, and move forward while ‘Hold The Water’ steps into the abandoned household of once was, now becomes frozen in time.

I can hear the Lodger and “Heroes”-era from Bowie, Soft Cell, and Steven Wilson, thrown into the mix. And you can see the word Kscope written all over as the EP closes it out with the tragic story of the ‘Fragile Creature’. When I was listening to this track, I get the feeling that it was written for Barbara Gordon’s return as Batgirl in the New 52 arc after being paralysed by the Joker from the 1988 controversial graphic novel, The Killing Joke.

Hazel goes inside Barbara’s mind as she struggles with the symptoms of P.T.S.D (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), the images of being tortured by him, and how long she can be the cape crusader once more. But the nightmares inside her head, haunt her more and more to make her harm someone who meant a lot to her.

And the lyrics have a comforting texture and the characterisation of being in one place can be a dangerous tightrope. The Embrace is Hazel’s chance to spread her wings and fly. She has proven herself by coming forward to bring her songs to life. And we have witnessed the entire structure by giving her, a big stamp of approval.

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