Album Review: Lina K.O. – Earth Apple EP

[Self-released; 2023]

Life is strange, isn’t it? While there is an infinity of ways to tackle that thought, sometimes the simplest is the most pertinent. The way I see it, the simplest would be to take it word for word and not go any further. Not trying to refine this phrase — just taking it as simple and complex at the same time as it is. Earth Apple, the debut EP by the Brooklyn-based artist Lina K.O. invites the listener to do just that: get in touch with that feeling that somehow the life we see in front of ourselves and the conception of it we have in our minds can be very different. We are not persuaded to get into a philosophical state of mind about it, but rather to attempt to be rid of the desire to rationalise and fix this cognitive dissonance.

Lina K.O. draws musical inspiration from various styles such as indie-folk and shoegaze; however, her style fits in as a page of its own. Earth Apple feels as if it combines all of these influences into something that isn’t quite akin to any single one. This EP feels like a single breath, not only in how sonically consistent it is throughout – even when the electrified indie-folk is interrupted by the britpop-influenced “Two-Player Mode” – but also in the fact that it does not offer accentuated highs and lows, while is also not monotonous in the negative sense of the word.

Earth Apple plays like a series of dreams which are bound by the same mood and expound upon the same story night after night. There is a very subtle presence of synths, which give volume to the overall sound, with the ethereal sonic textures supporting the lyrics.

The EP boldly opens with the six-minutes track “Apartments”, which introduces the listener to what they are about to experience with the very first lyrics: “Playing it out, keeping it honest.” Yet again: we are not supposed to rush for our favourite existentialist books, but rather we are invited to just feel the strangeness without needing to explain it to ourselves. In a way, that is one of the reasons why art exists in the first place. We not only want some kind of deep meaning to ponder endlessly, but we also crave the sense that feeling this way is normal. And what better way to get that sense if not by hearing words that resonate. Lina helps us see that, while modern life feels as if every aspect of it has to carry some deeper meaning, maybe all of these things can be taken more lightly. Maybe understating that everyone goes through them is enough to take it easy; at least sometimes, when we can. 

In the end, I don’t want to go into any clever yet concise explanations as to why everyone should rush to listen to this EP (as well as Lina’s debut two-track single Starter Apartment Recordings). I just know that it’s worth it, so I’ll say it without stressing anything in particular: give it a shot. Lina K.O. is not stressing any particular point or falling in with a specific musical style on Earth Apple. She gives us a time to think freely and calmly about all that we find strange or merely find to be a fact of life. Don’t we all need that every once in a while?