(New Friends) UK Release Date: August 20, 2021
In recent years a new generation of artists has emerged who indulge in absolute honesty and personal reflection in a way that is perfectly normal and part of the instinctive fiber of their art. Emotional intensity and openness are fundamental, but not in ways that shock or aggravate the drama. Rather, it’s real life in focus, and few new artists reflect it with as much wit, emotional breadth and great songs as Orla Gartland.
Woman On The Internet is Gartland’s anticipated debut album after several EPs released in recent years, and it shows what an accomplished and eclectic artist she is. Gartland can do everything from singer to songwriter to producer. Throughout the 11 songs, she takes you on a journey through a wave of different moods and feelings that match the music, from alt rock to soft folk laments to bright pop.
The album begins with Things That I’ve Learned, which builds up from minimal, cheesy, percussive beats with Gartland’s feverish vocals to a rousing scream at the end. A trick that is used again and again throughout the album with exciting effects, for example with the pop-punk rush of codependency or the longing cry of Over Your Head.
Where the album really shines, however, is when Gartland’s melodies like the exuberant zombie fly firmly on his turbo-charged pop bangers! and the beautiful bop from More Like You.
While Gartland is clearly a knack for melodies and a winning chorus, at least part of the album’s success can be attributed to the emotional resonance of their words. Similar to an artist like Phoebe Bridgers, Gartland knows exactly when to drop a devastating turn with almost carefree ease. She feels everything and puts everything into the music. “I’m so damn confident, it’s exhausting,” she sings on Pretending.
But that confidence is what drives Gartland. From the knowing title on, this is a 21st album. Orla Gartland realizes this and knows that she is just like the rest of us, embracing our imperfections and focusing on self-care and emotional transparency. If you feel the same way, then this is a smart and well-considered alt-pop record that cuts deep and promises a bright future for a new star.