Acoustic EP Review: Blue on the Inside by Radio Laika
Radio Laika's latest release is an unplugged collection of their best received songs.
Since the release of their debut single Video Game last year, Laika have taken up knitting, suffered a broken wrist and indulged in many drunk D&D sessions; and here is the result!
This acoustic EP opens with a reflective and delicate track J S P R. This song is even more striking when played acoustically; it allows the listener to pay more attention to the vulnerability of the song portrayed through its lyrics. The vocal performance is by far the most confident I've heard from front-woman Megan Clemens, tied nicely with a polished production. Providing its bright and fresh sound yet melt in the mouth quality, this song is reminiscent of the 2010 film Submarine, which features a soundtrack written and performed by Arctic Monkey's frontman Alex Turner.
Track 2 provides us with an unplugged version of Laika's debut single Video Game. I am of the opinion that this song works better with a bigger texture, simply because I feel the chorus' are too populated and therefore it can become messy and hard to appreciate. Perhaps a slower tempo may have been more effective, especially with regards to the main riff played on guitar and synth as it can feel abrupt in this version. However, the addition of trumpet in the second half of the song is a nice surprise; it conducts the bridge and last chorus very well and I just wish there was more of it earlier in this version. The use of muted strums to maintain a rhythm throughout the track is a worthwhile feature and fits to the tone of the EP.
You can listen to the playlist that inspired Video Game on Spotify now!
We are introduced to There Should be a First Time for Everything with a disorientating modulated synth layered with a melancholy guitar pattern. Guitarist Darragh Binchy, who also provides additional vocals, can be heard loud and clear in this song; this is refreshing as sometimes his harmonies can get lost in the mix when watching the band live. This song has a longing and tragic tone, which is manifested cleverly by the 6/8 time signature and detached melody.
The final track of Blue on the Inside is called Something Something. This song is always a crowd favourite when played live, however alike J S P R the lyrics are much more prominent and as a result, I feel more connected to the song this time. The delicate use of synth by Laika brainchild Felix Colbert adds a beautiful ambience behind the guitar and vocals, as well as a touch of texture that aids the progression of the song. The deterioration of the song in the second half and melding of ambient noises provides an impactful buildup that leads into the outro, almost as if you're floating away into space. This track reminds me of Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly, because of it's upfront attitude contrasted with a happy-go-lucky sound.
Overall, this unplugged EP from Radio Laika is a deeper and intimate insight into the meaning and emotions their songs portray. It demonstrates the band's competence to translate their discography from a live setting into an acoustic treat. Whilst some details of this EP could have been improved with simply a slower tempo or better distinction between elements in it's production, Blue on the Inside is an exciting stepping stone onto what more is to come from Radio Laika !