Review: Orla Gartland – Why Am I Like This? EP

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Orla Gartland's return to music a threat to all indie-pop artists

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Anxiety-ridden artist, Orla Gartland, questions ‘Why Am I Like This?’, claiming to ‘Flatline’ for others’ gain, stating her love lost to be ‘inevitable’, all whilst ‘Overthinking’ everything that comes her way. Gartland’s new EP, self-doubtingly titled Why Am I Like This?, follows the release of her song bearing the same name on February 8th, and her recent single ‘Flatline’ – accompanied by a music video and live session– on April 5th. This lyrically-focussed EP comes after almost four years of silence from this indie-pop artist, with her single ‘I Go Crazy’ reintroducing Gartland into the world of music last summer. Choosing to shift her focus onto song writing (opposed to producing) since her EP Lonely People in 2015, Gartland’s growth within her stream of releases over the past year is impossible to ignore.

As explained by Gartland herself, Why Am I Like This? consists of “4 inward-facing songs, each indulgently written in attempt to understand myself a little better”, which is evident throughout her EP. Each song primarily embraces her acoustic roots, with ‘Inevitable’ seeming to be her twist on a pop-ballad through its focus of piano and gentle guitar plucking. ‘Flatline’ differs from the rest of the somewhat calmer EP, taking a more up-beat stance through use of synths, drums and mini-production software pads. These funky noises paired with a rhythmic drum-kick infect those listening, inspiring them to dance or least tap their foot along to the beat.

A large theme of Gartland’s music, particularly in this EP, seems to be her exploration of mental health; the question of ‘why?’  prominent most in her first and last song. ‘Why Am I Like This?’ repeats its title over-and-over to form the songs chorus, sharing that she often feels like a ghost in social situations, sitting in corners thinking over “every single word of the conversation we just had”. More powerfully connecting with sufferers of anxiety when singing “I got my mistakes on loop inside my head”, aligning well with her final song ‘Overthinking’. Though posted on her YouTube channel in January of last year and stated as a demo version on this EP, ‘Overthinking’ already strikes a chord with myself even if still unfinished in Gartland’s eyes. This song explores the “problem with the control centre in my own head”, expressing itself as a cry for help that “I just wanna know why I’m overthinking”. Highlighting again Gartland’s obsession with ‘why?’ – a fascination prominent in many mental-health sufferers.

This time last year, Gartland once again took to the stage, playing singular shows in London and her hometown of Dublin and inspiring her recent sold out UK tour in April. Having played guitar/back-up vocals for fellow friend-and-artist Dodie on her past few tours – UK, Europe and North America – and opening for Dodie’s most recent Spring 2019 tour, Gartland announced her first UK and Europe tour alongside the release of her EP for November of this year – tickets on sale next Friday. The energy and excitement Gartland brings on-stage whenever performing is almost un-beatable. Her set in London last May sending the room of 150 wild through her set filled with dancing, smiles, heartfelt songs and pure content. Meeting Gartland after both this set and her accompanying of Dodie in Spring last year, I can wholly say that she is not only an extremely talented artist, but also a genuinely wonderful person. Fangirling with me over her song ‘Overthinking’ outside Dodie, signing whatever is passed her way and posing for multiple photos with all of her fans.

Orla Gartland is a down-to-earth, passionate artist to watch out for as she re-enters the music industry with great force – ‘Flatline’ making it onto multiple Spotify playlists upon its single release, including New Music Friday, The Pop List, All New All Now and The Indie List to name a few. Why Am I Like This? allows Gartland to please long-term fans by producing once again, and seems also to be gaining her a much wider audience in the process. Orla is a shining example of an artist whose music is used as a means to express and analyse her feelings and thoughts, whilst simultaneously connecting with those who listen. I would strongly recommend attending one of Gartland’s upcoming shows, though you’ll have to buy tickets fast before she gains yet another sold-out tour!

Why Am I Like This? EP is available now via Orla Gartland.

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