I’ve been sitting on this release for quite some time, a time during which I’ve had to resist, almost to the point of it being painful, telling everyone I know about it and sharing the private preview. So it comes as something of a relief that I am finally able to tell you about it.
‘Play Thing’ is LUKA’s debut release on Monomyth Records – and I know I seem to review releases from Monomyth a lot but the thing is that the label has some quite incredible bands and artists, several of which sit in my favourites list, so blame them not me.
Tempted as I am to just tell you in a stream of almost inarticulate text quite how beautiful this song is, how it connects with something deep inside you on an emotionally and how perfectly the words and music work together – all of which is true; I’m going to try and do something more coherent.
The song explores themes of manipulation and control, something that resonates deeply with me. This theme seems to be something that a number of artists have chosen to explore in their songs recently. Luka says about the song ‘ it turned into a song about allowing somebody to have too much control over you and your emotions, and deciding it needs to change. This is a theme that I can relate to. Too often we are unkind to ourselves, allowing people to treat us badly in what we like to call love. I hope hearing these lyrics may feel familiar, something I think lots of other people will be able to relate to as well. Knowing we deserve better, and having a little dance to celebrate’.
Luka sings the words – words that are deeply emotional and sound incredibly personal – in a quiet and intimate voice over ethereal layers of synths, sparse layers, sounds come at you delicately and unexpectedly – but nothing is jarring, those sounds complement and enhance. Musically it has the form of a lullaby with a sound that is at once electronica, celtic folk and something almost classical. It has the feel of a sound piece rather than a conventional song structure. The arrangement and production of this track is beautiful – as I said the words, vocals and music work together perfectly.
As I said this song resonates with me on a very personal and deep level. It connects at a level that many other songs that explore the theme of manipulation and control don’t. Listening to it is a very emotional experience for me, I’m not afraid to say that at times I am moved to tears. Part of this is the words, and part of it is the way words are sung and the way the music works. But you don’t need that personal connection to appreciate the song at all. You can appreciate its emotional beauty and the experiences it explores because it communicates those on a level that we can all understand.
This song is an incredibly impressive debut release. It has an emotional beauty that very few songs have. It’s words, voice and music in perfect harmony – musical and emotional harmony.
Luka says; ‘I woke up with the lyrics and melody for the first two lines in my head and wrote them in the notes on my phone. I spent the next day working out the chords and writing the rest of the song on my dadʼs, very out of tune, piano. I worked on Play Thing on Garageband, figuring out the structure and instrumentation. I wanted the vocals to be the focus of the song, beginning by layering lots of harmonies over the melody line, keeping it acapella in the beginning’.
Luka is Luka Huidobro-Howe