Album review: Orla Gartland lays it bare beautifully with debut album ‘Woman on the Internet’ – Catch her UK/Ireland tour this October/December

The beautifully flowing collection charts the artist’s emotional journey with fervour and introspection in equal measure, proving an incisive debut that is big on both feelings and sound.

image: karina barberis

The Breakdown

New Friends/Juno Records 8.0

Dublin-born, London-based singer/producer Orla Gartland has released her long-awaited debut album, Woman On The Internet via her own label New Friends. The beautifully flowing collection charts the artist’s emotional journey with fervour and introspection in equal measure, proving an incisive debut that is big on both feelings and sound.

The culmination of years of music making, live shows and Gartland honing her production skills, the new album features the singles More Like You, Pretending, Zombie!, Do You Mind? and You’re Not Special, Babe, with Gartland deliberately placing herself front and centre of its creation and lyrical content.

Written during lockdown in 2020 and recorded in October at Middle Farm Studios, Devon with co-producer Tom Stafford and Gartland’s own two-piece touring band, ‘Woman On The Internet’ moves swiftly between alt-rock, punk, folk and synth-pop, with inventive musical arrangements and insightful lyrical observations. Gartland cites Haim, Phoebe Bridgers and St. Vincent’s album Strange Mercy as being particular influences.

About the album’s title, Gartland explains: “She’s a caricature; a nameless, faceless figure telling me to eat better or buy some specific hair product; when I feel low I’m so vulnerable to questionable advice. The woman appears in these songs as someone I look to for guidance when it feels like no one in my real life can help, when I’m truly lost. A lot of this album is about learning to really own that lostness.”

Opening track Things That I’ve Learned is nimble in its lyricism and hardly skips a beat in delivering it’s earnest message with tight percussion and close harmonies. Continuing the journey to self-discovery is You’re Not Special, Babe, a sweetly euphoric, galloping indie-pop anthem devoted to giving comfort in the face of disappointment and self-doubt.

The more dramatic, reverb-drenched guitars of Pretending compellingly convey the exhaustion of pretending, day after day, to be someone you’re not: “I’m so fucking self-aware, it’s exhausting, and no matter how I try I repeat it every night”. Zombie, with its more punk elements, warn a friend against pushing trauma and rage down, for it only to come back up again.  

More Like You, with its fragile, caressing vocals, frankly discusses Gartland’s own struggles with feelings of inferiority. Personal favourite, Codependency, is a sunshiny pop number with delicate harmonies and hectic guitars that belie the track’s darker themes.

Throughout, Gartland reinforces the importance of acknowledging emotions rather than repressing them and ending up in a darker place. Her commitment to honesty comes from a desire for genuine connection. “I’d love for people to come away understanding me more, but also it doesn’t have to be all about me,” she says. “Even if it’s the odd lyric here and there, I’d love it if people felt more understood just by listening to the album.” Ironically, it’s by laying her imperfections bare that Gartland has created such a compelling album.

“Woman on the Internet is about the chaos of my 20s. It’s a different chaos to your late teens, such a different brand of angst. I feel so much more settled and sure of myself now than I was when I was 18 or 19 but I’m still just half the person I’m going to be and to capture that became really important.” -Orla Gartland

Woman On The Internet follows Gartland’s first two acclaimed Eps – 2019’s Why Am I Like This? and the follow up Freckle Season, released in February 2020. Gartland’s songs have amassed over 55 million streams and more than 750,000 monthly Spotify listeners.

Orla Gartland is due to play a run of headline tour dates across October and December 2021, including a headline date at London’s Electric Ballroom, and a hometown show in Dublin. Tickets are on general sale now, available via

Buy / listen to Woman on the Internet HERE

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