No other indietronica artist’s voice portrays the direct feeling of relationship angst as well as EDEN’s does – this was held case in point by 2016’s EP ‘i think you think too much of me’ on tracks such as ‘sex’ and ‘drugs’. Now almost two years later, the Irish producer has released his debut album ‘vertigo’ to high expectations. It’s quite common for a promising singer to release gorgeous track after gorgeous track prior to their official debut – prior to them having enough time to gloss over imperfections that make the songs in fact perfect – and once it’s time to finally jump into the game their performance is lackluster. With all of the hype surrounding Jonathon Ng, the man behind the EDEN moniker (songstress Lorde complimented ‘sex’ back in 2016 and the interwebs went bonkers), you’d almost expect a crash and burn type of situation. Aside from third single ‘crash’ – an album highlight, we’re missing both on ‘vertigo’. Overall it doesn’t provide anything innovative, but it does add to an already rosy body of work that most people will enjoy.
‘vertigo’ begins with the one-minute track ‘wrong’, a multi-layered vocal that provides the perfect introduction, followed by ‘take care’ which doesn’t seem to stand out but provides a nice flow with the rest of the album. In an interview with V Magazine prior to the release of the LP, Ng described it as “about small moments” and “how something small or insignificant can be a really big deal for you.” I feel like that description not only fits his meaning behind the album, but how a listener might find hidden treasures that are only their’s and no one else’s amongst the tracks. ‘Icarus’ is one of those for myself personally. ‘lost//found’ is lacking in production, a stripped back tune with depressing yet relatable lyrics. Those last four words seem to be a running theme with the producer. ‘crash’ incorporates robotic crunches and female vocals to great effect.
“Silence is better than fake laughs.”
‘gold’ is almost reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’ if you shoved it into a blender and added a plentiful dose of glitzycrunchysparkliness with a teaspoon of wanderlust. It’s the sort of track you find on people’s summer playlists. The tenth track, ‘float’, has a heartbeat all of it’s own, and ‘love; not wrong (brave)’ is arguably the best song off the debut. ‘falling in reverse’ samples bits and pieces of dialogue from The Emperor’s New Groove – a modern-classic Disney film, a lighter end to almost an hour of Ng pouring his guts out. Maybe “lighter” is a bit of a stretch though, with lyrics like “it’s time to decay.”
Call it what you want, call it growing it up (for those uninitiated, listen to ‘gold’) – EDEN’s taken a turn for the better. Stream ‘vertigo’ on Spotify, buy it via MCMXCV & Astralwerks, and catch him on tour this spring with VÉRITÉ in North America and Crooked Colours in Europe.
Key tracks: ‘gold’, ‘love; not wrong (brave)’