Irish pop exile Orla Gartland has always done things in her own way. Whether it be creating an army of Patreon subscribers to sustain herself, or jumping ship from the Dublin music scene where she was viewed as a hot prospect into the relative obscurity of being yet another singer songwriter in London.
It is completely in keeping with this tendency to eschew the tried and tested route that Gartland releases her debut album aged 26, some 9 years after her debut single Devil On My Shoulder.
And as ‘Woman on the Internet’ displays, the interim was far from wasted. The toil which built an army of fans with tracks such as I Go Crazy and Heavy pays dividends with a whip-smart collection of tracks examining what it means to be a 20-something woman on and off the Internet.
Here, Gartland casts a mirror on both herself and society. The woman on the Internet can be a force for good and evil, anxiety and happiness. Learning to identify which is which is at the crux of much of the album, as is not feeling bad for succumbing to their charms because everybody else does too.
Musically, Gartland reels you in with hook-laden indie tracks such as Zombie! – one of the best Irish pop singles of the year – and spacious and emotive ballads such as Do You Mind? built around acoustic guitar, piano and Gartland’s ability to weave moments of magic in the corners.
With tracks like these and the infectious You’re Not Special, Babe it’s little wonder that the likes of BTS are lining up to co-write with Orla Gartland.
The next time somebody tells you that Irish women aren’t good enough to be on the radio, set a ‘Woman On The Internet’ in front of them.