I’m a few years behind I suppose, but it’s worth mentioning that Orla Gartland’s debut album, Woman on the Internet, was my favorite album of 2021. Orla Garland is one of those artists that I cam to from another, as she is also Dodie’s guitarist and friend and so listening to Dodie, lead me to listening to Orla. The overall feel and tone of Orla Garland’s music is much different than Dodie’s though, it’s much much more upbeat and rock and roll, though it does share a lot of the structural characteristics of ups and downs and clever lyrics that I enjoy from Dodie’s music. I have no idea if there was any level of cross collaboration there, more that just, there is a subtle style going on that definitely has rubbed off one way or the other, or probably both ways a bit.

Though this is her first full album, Olra has had several EPs previously and regularly publishes snippets and unfinished/unreleased songs on her Patreon. I mention the Patreon only to mention that it’s literally the only Patreon I have ever subscribed to. It’s also probably worth mentioning that though I am only writing about the regular release, there is a deluxe version available as well which contains a few more tracks.

Though there is no track called Woman on the Internet, the album title does show up as a lyric and kind of, underlines a lot of the themes present in this album’s tracks about just how “fake” a lot of online people tend to be about a lot of things and how people try to strive to be like them, even if they don’t realize it. The intro track Things That I’ve Learned, feels like it sets a sort of baseline for this, and the theme is a bit ramped up in More Like You later on and comes to a bit of a head later on the album in Pretending. Pretending is probably my favorite track on this album as well, I really just love the whole theme and tune behind it.

Another good track is track 2, with You’re Not Special Babe, a nice fast paced track that makes clever use of it’s title. It’s not really what one might expect, it’s not saying you’re not special because you’re stuck on yourself, or you’re not special and are a loser, it’s more that, you’re not special, in being the only one with problems and issues. As the lyric goes,

Everyone cries, everyone lies Everyone hates you Everyone’s so scared of the future, it’s true

Essentially, everyone has bad days and times and all in all, you’re doing fine, and it will be better. Another track that kind of runs with this theme of “getting better” is Zombie!, When everything seems awful and just bottle it all up because it’s what’s expected and live like, well, an emotionless zombie.

Another one I particularly like is Codependency, which has some nice hits and ups and downs in it’s structure and an interesting theme that feels a bit like a blame game but then accepts that it’s a problem that goes both ways and that’s why it works out. As a wrap up I also wanted to call out the last track, Bloodline/Difficult Things. Which feels like an interesting topper to all of the turmoil of drama across the album, it has a touch of Orla’s own history wrapped in, but I particularly like the lyric “Skip a beat in the bloodline,” which kind of feels like the idea of breaking a bad family cycle.

All in all I just really dig Olra’s overall sound and I’m really looking forward to her next album. There’s lots of interesting emotion behind the lyrics and a lot of fun structure and shifting to the melodies and beats.