Hen Hoose is an outfit truly greater than the sum of its parts. Founded in 2020 by Tamara Schlesinger in response to music industry inequality, the female/non-binary collective has facilitated collaborations between some of the most talented artists working in Scotland today. And along with the excellent music produced, the Hoose has begun offering extracurriculars like audio production courses and panel discussions, with plans for further events and opportunities to get involved to be announced.

Following the SAY-nominated Equaliser, EP 1 is the first of three EPs planned for release this year and features seven duo collabs, with only two of the same artists from the inaugural album. The EP can be broadly classified as electronic, but under this broad umbrella there’s space for synthpop, torchy ballads, faux-orchestral flourishes and experimental touches.

Lead single, ‘Lucky Ones’, gives a fresh take on pandemic reflection as Djana Gabrielle’s quavering vocals ponder those tumultuous years in the presence of a kickdrum. The simple song is given emotional heft as Lucy Parnell joins for a brief duet, neatly to enunciate the “walk into the unknown”. ‘Brigid’ and ‘Night is Calling’ take different approaches, but both have an air of Kate Bush on a budget. The latter in particular drinks deep from Bush’s more gothic work, with synth-strings propping up the arrangement before it’s wonderfully deconstructed as the drum machine takes us to the (neon-lit) dancefloor in the final moments.

Given the broad scope, there are moments that lack cohesion. ‘Let It All Go’, for example, suffers under the weight of its own melodrama: the elongated run on the title is stretched to breaking point in service of the vocal acrobatics, while the overdubbed choir in the final minute does little to alleviate the sense that ambitions here may have been grander than the execution. ‘Look Up’, however, is an excellent showcase of less-is-more. The only song sung as a genuine duet, it revels in alternately plinky and cascading strings, creating an understated canvas for The Anchoress and Jill Lorean to splash their simple, allegorical lyrics.

‘My Only Ghost’ ends the EP on a somewhat experimental note, tinged with eastern-influenced electronics, which would seem an abrupt place to finish. But with the promise of two more EPs shortly, it’s really an interstitial stopgap, promising further exploration rather than signalling an end.

With the abundant creativity demonstrated on EP 1 in less than 30 minutes, Hen Hoose have the clear ability to surprise and beguile on future releases. Stay tuned.