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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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.


Song Quality
Vocal Performance


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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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