2018. Lloyd of Olive Grove Records gives me a sneak peek of the forthcoming Impossible Stuff album from Carluke pop artist Carla J Easton. It was there and then that I fell insanely in love with Carla’s immaculate talents, with the record ultimately becoming my top pick of the year, beating out some hefty competition in order to gain that notion.
2020. Carla starts hitting out with some feelers to the public; tunes that would help make up her eventual follow-up – WEIRDO. Much was promised from this new album, including a vastly different direction in style compared to her previous release, and after months of patient hype, the results were not so surprisingly stellar.
She comes bursting out in a dazzling array of bright auditory colours with the first of the singles, Get Lost, a jubilantly extraordinary number that is loud and large in scale, and festively cheerful in it’s synth-bridled glory, hitting its peak in the midst of an awesome chorus.
Without breaking the momentum, Carla leaps immediately into the next catchy offering, Heart So Hard, where the pace picks up to an even more sprightly bounce that has you prancing in an uncontrollable swell of happiness. Spun Out settles things down to a slower tempo, yet maintains this surreal, spellbinding edge that is a little oft-kilter and unusual sound-wise, but is captivating nonetheless.
Waves That Fall is a stand out piece, not only defined by a chilled beat, subtly cool riffs lingering in the background and Carla’s as-per delightful voice, but is elevated by famed Scottish rapper Solareye’s excellent contribution; just one example of Carla branching out the diversity in her music in order to expand upon what she started in Impossible Stuff.
The second single Never Knew You is next, another banging entry guaranteed to have you grinning like a chump with its elating tone, smoothly layered verses, and an utterly infectious hook, then the chills come storming through the body with the beautifully radiant, lyrically engaging Signing It In Blood.
And it doesn’t stop there, oh goodness no, because we then get the charming Beautiful Boy, complete with the most perfect, hypnotically fresh electronics my ears have graced in the longest time, but then one switch of the dial later, and you get something spectacular like Over You, which has a tasty dance anthem vibe to it, particular with the hot, flourishing rhythm driving it.
The title track keeps that feeling riding high, with Carla being helped out by fellow Scottish scene queen Stina of Honeyblood fame; the duo’s combined efforts making for a holy rollicking blast.
Sparkly bells, elegant keys and an addictive melody are the main elements of the wonderful Catch Me If I Fall, then the dark and semi-haunting Coming Up Daisies makes a mark with both stunning lyrics and a tingling atmosphere in equal amounts, and the same can be said for the super sweet closer, Thorns.
Carla Easton is a rare breed. It takes an unreal level of talent to come along and make a huge impression with one album, but to do it again with another can only come from somebody special. Carla fits into that very exclusive category.
WEIRDO has a little slice of everything: stunning singing throughout, a diverse range of styles and sounds all well executed, excellent writing, a uniquely definable identity to every song, and just an overall overwhelming passion that rings in full bloom from the moment it starts to when it inevitably finishes.
On top of being an ideally hopeful distraction in these dark, uncertain times, WEIRDO is further proof that Carla is one of the most versatile and gifted musicians that Scotland has, whose skills demand a mainstream presence.