Single: Garlen Lo – Brown Paper Ball

Brown Paper Ball is the fifth single from London’s self-proclaimed ‘quirky indie-popster’, Garlen Lo. Nominally a love song about the probably now defunct act of writing a billet-doux, it is assertive in its slightly mannered theatricality and the bounce and naive head-shakes of early Beatles pop are a clear influence, particularly in the multitracked vocals in the song’s harmonised coda. It begins with a guitar pattern and acoustic bass line strut that feels very late 90s pop indie and develops into a richer, fuller sound with multi-instrumentalist Lo clearly adept at arranging the range of instruments deployed here. It tiptoes towards ‘quirky’ territory but manages to avoid overtly detached ‘archness’ through its strong pop melodic chops that hold the thing together. Lo possesses a particular and exuberant talent and you can feel his enjoyment throughout, as he plays and tinkers with the production details, adding in sound effects and pauses within the pop structure which keep the listener intrigued. This is a track that doesn’t aim for visceral, emotive impact, despite the love-lorn conceit of its narrative, but has an idiosyncratic playfulness all its own that will undeniably raise a smile and an ear-worm melody that will dance through many a mind once heard.

Written by M. A. Welsh (Misophone)