Orla Gartland

Woman on the Internet

The debut by Irish singer-songwriter Orla Gartland is an album of many layers, finds Cat Caie

Woman on the Internet is an album about emotional learning. Few songs capture the essence of that theme better than ‘Madison’. Gartland’s vocals entice you in as she hits the high notes with ease and control. The strumming initially works as its own percussion, though more is added alongside a faint dainty lick. Unlike many of the more produced songs on the album, this song calls out in its unembellished impetuosity, with the uninhibited demo-like music matching the message. It reminds me of the unfurling of a concert, where the crowd are singing along to the band’s most famous song a cappella and unprompted.

Youthful and kind of sad, ‘Codependency’ feels like a high production start to a quirky independent rom-com. The song paints a series of comic scenes that wouldn’t be out of place in a 00s music video. The upbeat, relatable content seeps into the cracks of past relationships and unravels into inspirational insight. My personal favourite on the album, it only slightly surpasses ‘More Like You’ with its intricate layering and consistently impressive vocals full of pregnant pauses. The frankness behind the introduction to this character is refreshing. It feels like revisiting a favourite TV show.

For those who are Patreon supporters of Orla Gartland, her new songs come with an element of recognition. We’ve heard her sing about a “woman on the internet” before on the demo ‘More Like You’ that she released for her Secret Demo Club via the online membership platform in May 2020. What stands out is the electrifying transition between first and second verse, as it moves from a caesura to a euphonic dense texture. This was the single I had been most excited to hear fully produced. Teasing new music on both Patreon and her Creator’s Monthly series on Instagram, Gartland’s debut lives up to the hype she has built for it.

Much like Orla herself, this album sneaks up on you. It swiftly moves from easy-listening to music to obsess over. If you listen to it through cheap earphones on a crowded train, the intricacy of the production behind this album could be missed. It’s only when you invest attention, time (and good speakers) that you truly begin to revel in its wonders. To be able to relate with the messiness of Gartland’s emotional journey is to feel at one with a talented artist.

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