EP Review: Libby Johnston – Libby

Rising indie pop artist Libby Johnston explores life and love on her thoughtful debut EP Libby

Emerging New Zealand indie pop artist Libby Johnston first captured our attention last year with the release of her enthralling debut single ‘Right Person, Wrong Time’, and is looking to build on the momentum that she earned on the track with the release of her debut EP Libby, produced by Wolfgang Pander and co-written by Joey Miceli.

The EP gets off to the best possible start in the form of ‘Handle With Care’, a track that exemplifies the relatable and earnest nature of Libby’s writing and the thoughtful appeal that she embodies in her writing. So many people have been haunted by toxic relationships from the past, and it can affect how you feel and react when you meet somebody that is right for you and treats you better. This is explored beautifully throughout the track, and immediately sets the EP on a promising foot.

The second track is ‘Aftermath’, a track that is something of a successor to her earlier mentioned debut single. While ‘Right Person, Wrong Time’ was written about a toxic relationship and finding yourself always justifying your partner’s toxic actions, this track finds the artist thriving on the other side of the relationship, and more than happy to share it. There is a really rousing and upbeat feel to the triumphant track, one that adds a happy and emphatic ending to a bittersweet narrative.

The theme of being happy and in love is explored further on ‘Daydream’, a suitably dreamy and intoxicating track that has a low-key and understated aesthetic stylistically but is anchored by the artist’s intimate and immersive writing, celebrating a relationship that feels euphoric and uplifting, bringing the best out of the artist, providing another stark contrast and juxtaposition from her debut single.

Things get less rosy on the fourth track however, as ‘Ruins’ explores the crushing and heartbreaking feeling of unrequited love, and putting yourself out there and laying it all on the line to find out that your feelings unfortunately aren’t reciprocated. The track brings out some of the most stirring and engrossing vocals from the artist on the track, and an additional vocal feature from Joey Miceli really hammers home the soul-crushing feel of the narrative.

The EP ends on an introspective note, with Libby penning ‘Eldest Child’ to her younger self, telling her everything that she wishes she had already known and serving as a reminder to treat herself with compassion and kindness. The stripped-back feel of the sound and the compelling and vulnerable nature of the lyrics makes for a track that is stacked full of emotion and heart, drawing Libby to a close with a powerful reminder of the artist’s raw artistry and talent.

Throughout its duration, Libby is an EP that is packed full of engrossing tales about love, coming of age, and dealing with setbacks and heartbreak. The narratives feel cohesive and immersive throughout, pulling you into vividly realised worlds and scenarios and giving the track’s a distinctive tone and feel throughout. From the more upbeat and poppy moments to the more brooding and heartfelt, there is a lot to take in and love across these five tracks, and further evidence of Libby Johnston’s wealth of charm and potential.