Who knew a recorder could sound nice? Intertwined is strong debut that's left me excited to see what's next.
You know how it is: you’re wandering around town on a Saturday afternoon with your best friend and end up buying a bright pink ukulele because you both got hooked on the idea of learning it; you trawl through the depths of YouTube with Tilly (the ukulele) in hand, finding delightful ukulele-based covers as far as the eye can see; you find a girl who has built a YouTube channel from playing the thing, fall in love with her songs, realise she’s far more talented at the instrument than you’ll ever be, try to learn the songs anyway, continue until she releases her first EP, and all you can do is listen in awe. Or something. Relatable?
Perhaps when you think about debut EP, sounds of ukuleles and recorders don’t come to mind, but that’s exactly what Intertwined is, ranging from a 40-second interlude about a hole in Dodie’s tooth when the dentist was shut to a song (‘Sick Of Losing Soulmates’) that’s racked up over two million views on YouTube. She’s not just a YouTuber – incorporating analogue-like crackling and hummed harmonies, everything’s very gentle and almost intimate to begin with. It’s hard for it to not feel that way when all you’re hearing is someone’s innermost thoughts, requests of “Can you drink all my thoughts, ’cause I can’t stand them” over a ukulele and nothing else.
Intertwined is all about living in the moment, encouraging listeners to “hurt whilst you can” and “love, break, and learn.” Its interludes break up the flow of some heavier songs, giving it a nice feel of being spontaneous and original with a little side of whimsy – her songs will go from being about being young and obsessed with someone to the pain you feel when losing someone you had a connection with, making the whole EP painfully easy to relate to.
‘When,’ the concluding song, contradicts everything sung so far – the intimacy of ‘Intertwined,’ the teenage crush of ‘Absolutely Smitten,’ the desire to live in the moment of ‘Life Lesson’ – as she sings “I think I’ve been telling lies, cause I’ve never been in love.” It’s the most evidently honest of all the tracks and that it is here as a live version is no surprise. She took one take and put it into the world, vocal cracks and all, for a beautiful conclusion of questioning which of her feelings were genuine with lovely strung harmonisation and a fuller feeling than just the ukulele alone provides.
To go from YouTube to mainstream music is a hard step to make, especially when trying to be taken seriously in the process. Even so, Intertwined as a debut is a delightfully thoughtful connection of heartfelt songs… and the dentist one. Musically versatile and vocally strong, I’m incredibly excited to hear what more Dodie has up her sleeve.
Intertwined is out now