After making her art-pop debut in 2020 with her beguilingly dark EP, Life is Strange, Starleen came into her cinematically ethereal own through the unveiling of her ceremonially humanistic LP, To Give In.
To Give In explores our desires to succumb to the forces keeping us on our knees while celebrating our unwavering determination to endeavour the myriad of storms that our chaotic world unleashes upon us. With soundscapes that spill a jarring sense of unease around the assuredly celestial vocals that moodily paint the imperfection of the human experience around the pulsating indietronica rhythms, anyone who accepts the idiosyncratic beauty of the human experience will find a wealth of resonance across the seven soundscapes.
All too often, lyricism paints humanity, as a collective, as what we wish we were, what we aim for; an endless series of pretences held up by scarcely anyone for any enduring length of time before perfectionism becomes a crushing weight. Starleen breaks the mould by upholding the truth behind the facades. Paired with the cathartically artful structuring of the soundscapes, her bold daringness to encapsulate the most harrowing facets of the human psyche in To Give In unleashes a wealth of emotion.
For me, the highlight of the LP came in the form of the penultimate single, Out of Touch, which efficaciously reflects the multi-sensory nature of disassociation. Before the album concludes on the tranquility of the reverb-drenched melodies in From Myself. Any fans of London Grammar and Chelsea Wolfe won’t want to skip it. Actually, that goes for the entire LP. It’s officially in my collection of sad girl playlist staples.
“With this project, I knew I wanted to create a dark world. The message I try to convey is that in life, we have choices. Although going back may tempting, we have to move forward. People and their strength to overcome life’s battles always has been an inspiration to me.
Lyrically I have always gravitated towards artists like Nina Simone, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen because they talk about what it truly means to be human. And that is something I try to bring in my music.”
To Give In is available to stream on Spotify.
Review by Amelia Vandergast