On “side by side we lie awake,” Arctic Lake Revels In The Highs And Lows Of A Night Out

On March 18th, London-based pop duo Arctic Lake released their most recent EP, side by side we lie awake. Full of a healthy mix of hard-hitting synthesizers, atmospheric keyscapes, and excellent vocal effects, Emma Foster and Paul Holliman have created the perfect encapsulation of a night out that leads to, potentially, the last night of a relationship. The dreamy bedroom sound comes by honestly, as “the entire EP was recorded by the duo at their two-bedroom flat in London” with the exception of “Breathe.”

side by side we lie awake EP Artwork

The intro title track is just a vocal-only chorus of “Love You Like That,” and it’s perfect. To open with the hook of the first song is a risky move, but Arctic Lake execute it to perfection. It’s like the whisper in your ear as you’re about to let someone take you home from the club, and “Love You Like That” is the start of a passionate night that continues into “Lonely.” Where “Love You Like That” is centered around synthesizers, “Lonely” is centered around a funky bass line and atmospheric, “Human Nature”-esque guitars. 

“Such uninhibited highs will inevitably come with uncomfortable lows, though, as revealed on the EP’s final two tracks.” “Breathe,” the only song not recorded in the duo’s flat, shows Foster at her most vulnerable lyrically. It contains the lyric the EP’s title came from (“My mind’s at stake, side by side we lie awake”), and the production on the vocals within the song show how different voices in your head can all come together for one particular panic attack. “Hesitate” is an excellent closing track in its own right, with exceptional vocals from Foster and gorgeous production from Holliman, but it is a bit overshadowed by “Breathe.” Which, unfortunately, plays right into Foster’s lyric, “I’m tryin’ to talk, but they don’t hear me.”

On the whole, the five track EP is an excellent microcosm of what Arctic Lake does exceptionally well, and it paints a vivid picture of modern relationships. It’s thirteen minutes of sensual and confessional pop music, and that balance can’t be understated. side by side we lie awake is well worth a listen or five for the vocal power of Emma Foster alone, but Paul Holliman’s production adds that extra layer that puts it all over the top.

As Foster puts it, “We write about human interaction and emotion. That’s the inspiration for everything we do.” As simple as that sounds, “sharing your darkest moments and deepest desires … doesn’t exactly come easy.” Diving deep into the human psyche and using yourself as a conduit is nearly impossible, but Arctic Lake have created an EP that is relatable, powerful, and danceable. That last part only applies to the first two songs, sure, but isn’t it fun to dance around and then cry a bit? Or is that just me?

side by side we lie awake is completely worth your time, and you can check it out at the link below! Be on the lookout for more from Arctic Lake, as Foster and Holliman keep growing and trusting themselves more as a duo. Let us know what you think as well!

Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!
Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!

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