There’s a specific mood that hovers over the debut EP (act 1 of her 12-song hold A project) from Toronto’s lemin. It brings to mind (to me, anyway) someone sitting in a small bedroom late at night. Moonlight is providing just enough light for this person to write, and the result is hold A: act 1.
The EP shows lemin. is quite adept at producing smooth, R&B-influenced pop. She’s got an ear for hooks (I still can’t get the chorus of “Up & Up” out of my head) and keeps her messages simple.
Treating the four songs as telling a story in chronological order, it appears to lead from love to smothering to heartbreak to acceptance. In “Cookie Dough Skin,” lemin. describes herself and a lover with a number of metaphors involving sweet things, from a “bubble-gum tongue” to “cocoa-coated lips.” The song starts with spare piano before a more layered beat moves in at the one-minute mark.
But love appears to to be too much in “Extension Cord,” which describes someone as inescapable as surround sound in a room. Here, lemin. can’t seem to escape. But heartbreak promptly sets in with “If I Didn’t Know You,” where she says there’s no way you can know what love is like if you’ve never felt it. So having experienced it, heartbreak is way worse.
But with “Up & Up,” she’s moved past it. The song really bounces, and it features the aforementioned insanely catchy chorus. The modded vocals add a sense of experimentation to this one, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of hold A unfolds.
Top Track: “Up & Up”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)