The closet is the first place we go to to silence our feelings and hide our memories. It's where we keep our dusty skeletons and forgotten trinkets. But to Toronto-based singer-songwriter Lo Lo (Lauren Mandel), the closet is the safe haven for all the provocative stories and little moments that have made up her relationships. Every article of clothing left behind by a past partner closes another chapter, leaving only memories woven into the soft fabric. Inspired by her closet, Mandel set out to record her debut EP Sweater Collection- premiering at EARMILK today- as a tribute to every past relationship and her ever-growing closet of memories.
Despite the inspiration for its inception, Sweater Collection is surprisingly upbeat, finding peace and resolution in its lyricism rather than scorn or sorrow. The lead single, "Yours" is a revelling, energetic pop ballad outlining the struggle of coming to terms with a relationship that has ended. Unlike some of its modern counterparts, it doesn't feign vocal authenticity with an overbearing auto-tuned production. Mandel's lush vocals drip over every chord and bubbly synth, adding sweetness to where there is pain and resentment.
The EP picks up with a grander production in "Convenient", an all-t00-honest rendition of the rebound story. Guiding her voice to display grit when necessary, Mandel bares all with a refreshingly catchy hook and prominent backing synths. In the same vein, "Sweater Collection" blooms over a fresh electronic pop composition and infectious chorus.
As we make it into the first interlude of the EP, which features the sounds of getting off a bus in a busy street and leaving a voicemail for an elusive ex-partner, it becomes apparent that Sweater Collection isn't just a haphazard collection of love-sunk songs. It's meticulously curated, telling not just any story- but her story. When sharing her thoughts on the EP to EARMILK, Mandel notes that "All I knew was that I wanted there to be a story- if someone pressed play and listened from start to finish. I had started grouping songs together for a potential EP track before ''Sweater Collection'' was even written. Once I wrote it, I realized it was the perfect piece to tie all the rest together."
Finishing the EP on a softer note, "Champagne 4every1" evokes the bubbly drink in its swaying percussions and softly beckoning "hey-now-hey" in a final resolution to simply drink rather than deal with all the emotion. It's a realistic ending to the sentimental rollercoaster of Sweater Collection, an 8-track ride that has taken us through all the stages of grief- except for acceptance. But perhaps the acceptance is found in the making of this EP, in digging out all the skeletons from the closet and acknowledging the memories hidden in all its nooks and crannies. The people wearing the sweaters may be gone- but the collection will always be yours to keep.
Catch Lo Lo's official Sweater Collection release show at the Adelaide Hall in Toronto on May 2nd.