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Lemon Love Johny Lamb , June 28th, 2019 09:12

A bedroom producer with a deft touch and a big heart, Arwen's Lemon Love is a set of beautiful, broken, hip hop-infused pop songs, finds Johny Lamb

What I know about Arwen comes just from her music. This EP comes with no press release, no high-res photos, no links to Facebook, no hyperbolic ‘if you like X then you’ll love this – Arwen is the next Y’ kind of biog. She is a self-produced songwriter working on Garageband. Unlike lots of bedroom producers at the moment though, she hasn’t obscured her work with unnecessary signifiers of lo-fidelity.

She is from the West Midlands. I know this because she performs in her own accent. This is cause for celebration I think. I hope it signifies the end of the current trend to warp the vowels of vocal performance into a strange dislocated quasi-regional voice.

Arwen’s output, has something in common with Super Organism in its making, but it doesn’t suffer from the super-hip quirkiness of that band. All of her work smacks of unpretentiousness, and her writing has a direct quality, while being littered with charming turns of phrase “Acid takes away relief” she says on the title track, having resignedly declared herself “a lemon”. She’s young sure, but she’s mature I think.

Besides ‘Lemon Love’, ‘Rock Bottom’ perhaps shows off her deft touch as a songwriter best. “I should be sad, but I feel nothing” immediately pulls at the heart, and “I bet you’ve forgotten” leaves the listener collapsed with the sadness that escapes the narrator. She does lost love very well indeed. I feel like she has the depth and darkness that is implied and heavily signposted in Billie Eilish. But Eilish is gateway depth. Impressive at the outset, but it doesn’t really linger past a few listens. The difference with Arwen is, I believe her.

The production, considering the constraints of her software, is well-judged and thoughtfully constructed. Yes, it suffers a little from cheap midi strings, but there is a great deal to enjoy. Beautiful, broken, hip hop-infused pop songs. She’s a songwriter that gets how to employ simplicity. Small feelings made big for an empathetic ear. Lemon Love is an honest and big hearted record.