EP Review: Orla Gartland – Lonely People

Editor's Review

Summary

One to watch for 2015 as Orla provides a wonderful EP with an excellent vocal performance and great songwriting.

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This YouTube born singer songwriter has risen from her online popularity to a growing live presence and wider listenership. When Orla Gartland’s new EP fell into my inbox I suddenly recognized the name from her debut single ‘Devil On My Shoulder’, a beautiful gem I had found in an influx of average albums. So with fresh ears, and a positive outlook, I dove headfirst into the EP, eager to find another gem.

The opening and title track ‘Lonely People’ is paced well and hits you with funk straight from the kick of the drums, with Orla’s vocals both providing a succulent smooth guide through this pumping track. Everything hits perfectly in the song, and I can imagine this to be a joy for any musician to play live. It’s simplistic harmonic arrangement compliments the hard hitting instrumentation well to provide a combination of edge and depth. A particular highlight being the bridge; it feels like a throwback to the ‘Wild Cherry’ age, epitomized by the line “I think we’re gonna regret these haircuts”.

Souvenirs‘ has an element of The 1975’s iconic guitar indie pop style, and it hits much the same vibe as the previous opening track. The song is slightly smoother than the opening, but in no means does it feel less dance-worthy….just slightly less ‘funk your face’ and more ‘dance under the stars until the dawn’. At this point, I feel like we should also compliment the producer behind this EP for an incredibly clean and brilliant sound, without losing the integrity of the vocals themselves.

Orla’s voice blends effortlessly with the instrumentation in the chorus and the synth solo throws backs again to a bye-gone age of true soul in studio’s and liberating live shows. In an assumption, it seems this EP, and many other artists at the moment, including Bruno Mars with ‘Uptown Funk‘ and Sam Smith’s debut album, are all striving to beckon the industry back to the classic Motown and Soul era and I am in full support of this.

Whispers‘ is the first song that relaxes back into a more easing soundscape and it opens quite  minimalistically in comparison to the scorching opening to the EP. You can hear the classic indie singer/songwriter origin that Orla has come from, but again it’s mixed with a slightly trippy element to provide a more euphoric experience. It’s an interesting mix, the track almost undecided whether it’s going Bombay Bicycle Club or Ed Sheeran until the full arrangement kicks in towards the end. It’s a well written song, even though surprisingly lacking the catchy nature of the opening. Orla delivers a stellar performance again.

Onto the finale. ‘Get Back‘ opens up with wailing choir sounds and big drums. The chorus of this song is really something you can lose yourself within, it washes over you and blankets you in a soothing soliloquy allowing you to drown out the creepy guy opposite you on the bus as you head home after a long day. It’s a song to unify people together, and I can see it being a set closer at the festivals. Vocally, a more minimalist approach in the verses to contrast the full vocal sound of the chorus might have been better placed, but it’s a lovely song and again, approaches the indie songwriter with a nice twist that leaves the EP on a high.

‘Lonely People’ is a really interesting and dynamic EP. Well produced, sounds great and some of the tracks have an amazing feel that seem to connect to you, which I think is something a lot of modern ‘indie singer/songwriter’ music forgets to do. A refined skill which I think Orla Gartland has down to a t.

One to watch for 2015 as Orla provides a wonderful EP with an excellent vocal performance and great songwriting.

 

Check out the lyrics video for track 2, ‘Souvenirs’ below:

 

Catch Orla on tour:

orlatour

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