As another child of YouTube’s huge acoustic boom of the 2010s, with ‘Woman On The Internet’ Orla Gartland tackles growing up, chaos and lessons learnt.
Having released music since her teens, it would’ve been easy for her debut album to feel one-note, simply regurgitating the success of past singles and sounds, but if ‘Woman On The Internet’ teaches us anything about Orla, it’s that she won’t settle. While her work has always maintained the core of what caught the public’s attention, centring her storytelling lyrics and Irish-twanged vocals, her instrumentals do nothing but improve. Building a varied and vibrant nest around her words on ageing and change, the album’s audios scream the benefits of maturity.
Nurtured in a tight-knit group of musician friends including folky-orchestral inspired dodie and pop princess Lauren Aquilina, Orla’s work merges all her influences into a unique sound that honours her acoustic origins on tracks like ‘Left Behind’ and ‘Maidson’ while making plenty of space for bigger sounds. Crediting the shift to her obsession with production, keeping a tight control over every sound and effect, the result is a record that is undeniably hers, managing to be both raw and bold. With unexpected rhythms combining softer elements like gentle handclaps with electronic beats, and a variety of sound that sees the album flowing from piano ballads into screaming guitars, you get the sense that Orla put everything she learnt and loves into this record.
All presided over by the faceless and nameless Woman on the internet who Orla turns to for emotional guidance, this album pays homage to the messy feelings of the gap generation – falling somewhere between millennials and Gen-Z. Despite ripping stories right from all our lives, singing about feeling alone at parties and arguing with friends, Orla’s heavily introspective view somehow makes it all feel new. Passing the mic to the most candid and honest moments, opening the floodgates to the melodrama and chaos of 20-something emotions, ‘Woman On The Internet’ totally avoids cliché while vocalising the most universal of thoughts and feelings.
Opening up on ‘Things That I’ve Learned’ with a reminder to “take up all the space even when you think you don’t deserve it”, it seems like Orla definitely learnt that lesson. ‘Woman On The Internet’ is big, in both feelings and sound, holding up development as something to celebrate and confronting emotional roadblocks head-on. After releasing her first single back when she was 17, looping round and round tour circuits, and developing a cult following, this release feels infused with self-assurance and pride, merging know-how and passion with a strong vision that only seems to get bolder with each release.
Dig This? Dig Deeper! Greta Isaac, Phoebe Green, Liz Lawrence
Words: Lucy Harbron
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