London based, Irish singer-songwriter Orla Gartland has come back kicking with her new EP, Freckle Season. First gaining popularity from her YouTube covers, Orla has since released four EPs and ten singles. Freckle Season was released only nine months after her last EP Why am I Like This? and leaves fans excited about what’s to come. Hopefully this time, a full album.
The EP opens with the more upbeat, “Did it to Myself”, full of bass, guitar and near acapella vocals. She engages you with self-aware lyrics and a beat you can’t help but dance along to. It is full of Orla’s unique style, indie pop mixed with vulnerable lyrics, making it hard not to love.
Following the upbeat opening song, “Figure it Out” gives the illusion that the EP is calming down, yet 30 seconds in the song lets loose and you’re dancing again. The song is a contrast of calm and anger, it holds itself together in the verses before losing it during the chorus. Each chorus, an immense feeling of satisfaction rolls over you as the tension and built-up frustration heard and released.
“Heavy” sits in the centre of the EP and occupies the space wonderfully. It is piano based: melancholic yet complete. The lyrics feel like a perfect balance of introspection and emotion, detailing the feelings that engulf you after a breakup. It captures the small experiences of loss and the acceptance of breakups, adding up to a heavy and intense atmosphere.
“Oh GOD” is hard to describe. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It feels more expressive, similar to how musical theatre uses music to highlight lyrics and story. The instrumentation really completes the lyrics and supplements the tone that she creates throughout. It showcases Orla’s musical diversity: it’s both bare and full, happy and sad. It almost feels perfect being heard immediately after “Heavy”, as there is such a contrast between each song. It feels right.
The EP closes with “New Friends”, a guitar-based song on the softer side. It’s the sort of song you’d play on a late-night drive, in the early mornings or around a camp fire. Discussing the aftermath of a breakup, the emotions and the thoughts which emerge. It feels like closure: a soft end to a beautiful EP.
Freckle Season does an excellent job of showcasing Orla Gartland’s range through the contrast between each song. She pulls off indie pop bops with “Figure it Out” and “Did it to Myself”, yet also brings her style to melancholic ballad, “Heavy”. The common thread between each of these songs is Orla and what she brings to them: sense of vulnerability in her lyrics and a clear passion for what she’s making. I’m excited to see what she brings out next, hopefully this will be in the form of a full-length album.