I have to admit, I'm new to Northern Irish singer Lilla Vargen, but within the first moments of listening to her new EP We Were Thunder, I am utterly entranced. Her Swedish name translates to "little wolf" and it aptly describes her musical style; vulnerable and beautiful with an undeniable strength lurking within.
I hear this soft and strong quality in the EP's first track "The Shore". At the chorus, Vargen's voice soars then cascades, drawing you in. With intricate layers of harmonies, this track is a choice opener for her latest project. Throughout, we hear perspectives on love, its shortcomings, its epic moments, and ultimately the pain and release it brings.
The EP slows down for the second track "Solitary". The light piano and melody remind me of Jessie Ware's powerful voice and contemporary pop style. Immediately following is "Why Wait", a pre-released single like "Solitary", it separates itself through sudden, quick drum beats while maintaining that similar slower melody. The lyrics fit into the EP's topic of past love; asking why we all wait and suffer for those who are never there.
I am most drawn to "Trouble". With a similar style intro to the rest of the EP, Vargen's voice enters the room accompanied solely by a delicate piano. As that first chorus hits, the track builds to include muted percussion and bass, with instruments continuing to join as the song continues. Within it is the crushing self-reflective conclusion that trouble is always finding her. This track is an example of what makes Vargen's unique songwriting so enticing; a dramatic melody telling a sincere lyrical story.
Written in the past tense, the EP's title We Were Thunder hints at a reflective project that is nostalgic of a past relationship. The concept of thunder makes me think of the crazy, energetic, and powerful force of love, in Vargen's words, something "you can get completely lost in", something that "feels magic, but can go away very quickly." The last track is "On My Mind". I hear the combination of the piano that dominated the first tracks and the percussion that added texture in the later ones. It feels like the perfect closer as it captures the feeling of the EP wholeheartedly. It's Vargen's honest dwelling on that lost love and the consideration of moving forward regardless; a vulnerable yet strong force like her name suggests.
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