Upon listening to the Irish rockers debut self-titled EP back in 2012, it might have seemed easy to draw similarities between Kodaline and acts like Mumford & Sons, and Boy & Bear, albeit with some electronic effects. The EP garnered a great deal of favorable reviews, with opener All I Want drawing widespread appeal, and for good reason: Kodaline’s mix of somber, sincere, thematic content, combined with expertly mixed and layered effects, was and is striking.
Now, Stephen Garrigan, Vinnie May, Jr, Jason Boland, and Mark Prendergast have done it again. Titled Love Like This, this EP revives the band’s trademark sound, yet brings a new outlook entirely. Where as the self-titled showcased a predominantly deep and foreboding emotional sonic feel, much like a couple about to say their parting words, Love Like This seems to steer more towards the positive, moment-by-moment feelings of plunging into love.
The EP begins with Love Like This, which features Stephen Garrigan’s timid yet soulful vocals, and a simple but beautiful piano melody. With insistent mantra “A love like this could last forever”, its hard not to feel swept up in the moment, especially when Garrigan’s range goes up a full octave as the track closes.
What It Is follows up next, which has arguably the most powerful lyrics of the whole EP: “So you’re standing in the parking lot of life, and you’re trying to figure out your fate tonight, and you hear a sound coming out of the car radio, saying ‘Son if you don’t learn, then you’ll never know'”. This sense of existential quandary pervades Kodaline’s material, but its most beautifully put on Love Like This. The track culminates with a grandiose, all-hands-on-deck barrage of sound, just before Garrigan’s lonesome voice chimes out “Nobody’s going to tell you how to live”.
The other tracks, Midnight, and After The Fall, both have their own charm as well: Midnight features warbling vocals not unlike The Dirty Projects a la Bitte Orca, while After The Fall is led by what sounds like a late 80’s piano melody, and is easily the most fast-paced track on the EP. For good measure, there’s even an acoustic version of Love Like This.
Kodaline’s Love Like This EP truly shines for it’s emotional sincerity and its masterful lyrics.