Lauran Hibberd creatively tackles grief and heartbreak

Lauran Hibberd showed the world her emphatic pop-punk sound on her debut album, Garageband Superstar. Her stellar sophomore release, girlfriend material, continues to do just that while adding an extra layer of maturity to her sound.

In the time between her album releases, Hibberd unfortunately lost her father, and as a result this album is a carefully crafted cathartic release for her heartbreak. Opening track ‘I suck at grieving’ deals with the topic head-on while sticking to her light-hearted and anthemic tone.

While this is one of the few direct references to the exact events in her life, in other areas of the record Hibberd delves into general feelings of heartbreak and insecurity in an upbeat but relatable way for her audience. ‘jealous’ tackles the lows of comparison, ‘happy for you’ reflects on the apt endings of relationships, and single ‘2nd prettiest girl (in the world)’ reveals what it’s really like to be second choice in a relationship.

All of this is showcased through a grunge-like, drum and electric guitar-led production, which really brings the album to life. ‘mary’ is characterised by Hibberd’s up-tempo singing and heavy instrumental backing, with ‘happy for you’ thriving in its angst, showcasing Hibberd’s vocals in a more isolated way. The singer doesn’t shy away from showing how she’s enjoying her youth making fun, grungy music, and how she can ‘blow up her whole life on a Friday night…’, as noted in ‘better than I was before’.

On this note, what makes the album memorable for me is the air of nostalgia that it is coated in. The instrumental very much sounds like one from a 2000’s TV show with its drum and guitar heavy nature. ‘90’s kid’ is a track which also solidifies this, as Hibberd thrives in her Britishness, referencing the Spice Girls alongside Nirvana. The track is one you can sway your head to while also relating to being ‘in your twenties stressing about money…’ – it’s a struggle I’m sure many of her listeners, including myself, have. The Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low) feature in ‘pretty good for a bad day’ slips the album even further into the realm of 2000’s nostalgia while being an excellent collaboration.

As said earlier, girlfriend material is a step up in maturity from her debut and the slower, acoustic-led tracks give the record the variation it needs. ‘not the girl you hope’ is a perfect example of this, ending the album on a ballad which reads like a diary entry, enhanced by strings and emotive lyrics such as, ‘I’m only happy when I’m busy and I don’t think that counts…’.

Fans of Lauran Hibberd needn’t be disappointed with girlfriend material as the singer shows once again that she has her musical identity firmly solidified.

Haiku Review:
From sad to happy
A trip to 2000 thrives
On her great sophomore

The delightful girlfriend material is out today via Virgin Records – give it a listen on all major streaming services or order a physical copy by clicking here.

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