Friday, April 19 2024

Hastings-based singer-songwriter Cordelia Gartside invites us into evocative winter ambiance with her latest song, ‘December,’ whilst skilfully avoiding well-trodden paths and festive clichés.

The track is built on the unusual sound of a rotary phone dialing from 9-0 played backward through a tape machine. This sets the scene for the disorienting experience of winter: fading light, time playing tricks, and emotions slipping through your fingers. With poignant lyrics, such as “crying at commercials, I know I should learn to be discerning with my emotions,” a touch of apathy is seamlessly woven into the song’s narrative, painting a vivid portrayal of the mundane grind, weariness, and winter’s darkness—all the while grasping onto a glimmer of hope.

The lo-fi vocals, captured in one take, ride alongside a mellow rhythm guitar and phasey lead lines, creating a production that feels raw and hits the mark. The intimacy of the vocal clashes perfectly with the almost suffocating musical backdrop, giving off a vibe of uncertainty and unrest that builds up to a much-needed release. The phase, or what I call the ‘wobble’ effect, steps in at just the right moments, lifting the track and adding that extra nuance.

Cordelia Gartside Singer songwriter 1

Vocal echoes reminiscent of Lomelda and Haley Heynderickx, coupled with glimpses into Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ era in certain melodic movements, add a layer of subtle complexity. The song dances equally between beauty and haunting tones, gradually unfolding and reaching its emotional peak in the final stanza: “Don’t know how I’m feeling, winter, it’s me again… trying… trying.” The angst in the delivery of that last ‘trying’ lingers, leaving you anticipating what comes next.

Cordelia Gartside Singer songwriter 2

With its wintry glow and haunting vibe, ‘December’ isn’t just a song—it’s an experience. And, Cordelia Gartside’s promise of more of the same in her upcoming album sets the stage for an eagerly awaited musical journey.

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Review

Summary

Cordelia Gartside’s ‘December’ intricately creates a haunting winter narrative, steering clear of festive clichés. With one-take lo-fi vocals and melodic and lyrical weaves reminiscent of Radiohead, the song unfolds gradually, leaving listeners hanging in suspense, eagerly awaiting the next chapter in Cordelia’s musical journey.
85%
Great

Rating

Song Quality
Vocal Performance
Lyrics
Instrumentation
Production

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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