Cathy Jain’s stripped back self-produced mixtape Gentle, Hot and Godless

In her latest musical endeavour, Nantwich’s Cathy Jain has ditched the ‘big, produced tracks’ in favour of an intimate and raw collection of self-written and self-produced acoustic songs and packaged them as the Gentle, Hot and Godless mixtape. Released on September 29, 2023, this record really peels back the mask as Cathy delivers each single with vulnerability and fire. 

Cathy describes the mixtape as a detour to her singer-songwriter roots, where she embraces the beauty of simplicity and authenticity. “Often I would take the train to London and record big, produced tracks but every night I would retreat to my hermit cave, pick up my acoustic and drift into this new world. This mixtape is therefore a sort of detour to my singer songwriter roots,” she said.

“I grew up listening to artists like Nick Drake and Elliot Smith, and now songwriters like Hozier, Phoebe Bridgers and Ethel Cain. Living in such a small town in the middle of nowhere, I spent a lot of time in my room listening to these artists and reading Anderson’s fairy tales, and these delicate moments were such a powerful source of inspiration that I originally recorded 24 songs for this mixtape.”

The final four that made the cut take listeners through a labyrinth of emotions, each track unfolding like a chapter in a story, revealing the depth of Jain’s songwriting and her penchant for blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.

The first chapter, Goddess – quickly gaining a spot on Spotify UK’s New Music Friday playlist – serves as an entrancing introduction to the world Jain has crafted. Dark and brooding, it follows the narrative of an infatuation with a ‘ferociously majestic’ goddess, boasting ethereal melodies and poignant lyrics with the twinkling of the guzheng – a Chinese harp – adding a bewitching quality while keeping her anchored artistically to her Asian heritage.

There’s a looming feeling of melancholy across this mixtape, which was written at a time when Cathy was coming of age during the Coronavirus pandemic. She added: “I wanted to construct a fantastical world, of water nymphs and dancing in the moonlight. Being a big daydreamer, I have always imagined being part of a different world. I think that’s why these songs are all so separate from my reality, and also why there’s a sadness.”

The haunting outro flows effortlessly into Heroine, though this record carries a different energy. Disguised by pleasant sounds, it delves into themes of power imbalance and subtle feminine rage. The simplicity of the acoustic track, coupled with Cathy’s emotive vocals, creates a contrast to the darker undertones of the lyrics. The satirical dig at the portrayal of women throughout history is cleverly woven into the catchy hook, making it a standout track that lingers in the mind. 

The EP moves into In My Dreams, standing out with its dreamlike quality, allowing listeners to drift into a realm where reality meets imagination. It’s evident that Cathy’s music serves as a vehicle for escapism, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in her world as though it were a film indeed, a novel. Meanwhile, final track Rabies introduces a different intensity and a heaviness, with a pressure to it – like when the atmosphere feels thick before a storm. Cathy’s vocals remain light and enchanting, dancing across the harp as they move through the track together before turning the final page of the story. 

Cathy Jain’s Gentle, Hot and Godless mixtape serves as a purging expression of raw emotions, blending elements of fantasy and reality seamlessly. Her decision to strip down her sound to its bare essentials pays off, providing an intimate backdrop for her lyrical storytelling.  Cathy said: “This mixtape is unlike any music I have released before, but funnily it’s the type of music I write most often, and have always loved most deeply. It combines my love for those intimate and raw emotions in fairytales and tragedies with my favourite acoustic sounds. Writing it has been such a cathartic experience. These songs have come straight from my heart.”

With this release, Cathy Jain continues to defy categorisation, blending pop and folk with unorthodox fantasies and femininity. Her refusal to be confined by genre norms paired with her ability to weave beautiful stories proves just why she was named in the NME 100 in 2022 and DIY Mag’s 23 for 23 and remains one of the most talked about up-and-coming artists of 2023.

Listen to Gentle, Hot and Godless here on Spotify:

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