EP REVIEW: Dorah Jacson – ‘Lie Awake’

Words by Kate Lockyer {Kate Lockyer Music}

21-year-old Sunshine Coast musician Dorah Jacson (a.k.a Kayla Smart) released her debut EP this month, a mesmerising blend of indie, pop and alt-rock that leaves you tingling all over. The EP, ‘Lie Awake’, is a collection of atmospheric tracks that attest to an innate songwriting talent from Dorah – her songs immediately pull you into orbit with crashing guitar and earnest lyrics. 

Little Islands of Warmth is my favourite song on the EP, tender and nostalgic. The track gingerly introduces you to the soon-to-be-familiar sounds of Dorah’s electric guitar, with a softly-plucked melody line gradually giving way to insistently captivating riffs. The lyrics are vividly evocative of place, “The old wooden box / The place of lost and found / The lights strung across the ceiling / Hanging above like stars”.  Throughout the song, the intensity builds, and by the chorus, you can feel the piercing gaze that she turns on herself – “Little islands of warmth / Covering me while I sleep / Little islands of warmth / Covering all the things I used to feel and all the things I used to be”.

Sinking immediately feels heavier than the previous track, opening with driving electric guitar and a slow drumbeat. The song is about a toxic relationship, slowed with the lethargic weight of emotion –“Under all this commotion / How deep is your ocean / I’m sinking down, down, down.” Dorah’s gorgeous lower register gives her a power and authority in this song that continues throughout the EP. 

The next song is called Lurking, which perhaps has a resonance with anyone who has had someone invade their space. Another song coming from a dark place, of frustration and anger, the timbre reflects the mood of the lyrics – “What happened to decency / They’re just lurking creepily”. A haunting, high-pitched guitar riff swirls around Dorah’s vocals, the music echoing through overlapping voice tracks and percussion. The song is a satisfying anthem for women and others who have spent their life enduring unwanted stares, comments and worse.

From Afar is a step back from the alt-rock sound of the previous few songs, a gentle acoustic track that talks of moving on. The guitar and Dorah’s soft vocals create a lilting melody that are a balm for the parting that she sings of – “If you moved on, had a change of heart / Well I don’t want to know”. This song is a sweeter side Dorah, her husky tones taking centre stage.

Lie Awake is the last track on the EP, a song full of restless energy that simmers over into the instrumentation. With a guitar harmony that alternates between juxtaposing long strums and an increasingly spirited repeated riff, the track radiates verve and energy. The lyrics simultaneously evoke closeness and excitement. “We talk until we can’t keep our heads up / We stare until we can’t keep a straight face / And we’ll lie awake until the night touches our face / And we’ll lie awake until the night touches our body”.

The atmosphere of this EP settles deep into your bones, along with Dorah’s dark lyrical flair. ‘Lie Awake’ is a sensational debut EP from a local artist who is quickly gaining recognition for her talent. The uniqueness of her sound might be the best part about this release, with her midnight-hued mix of indie, pop and rock influences. 

Stream ‘Lie Awake’ HERE!



OCT 23 – Solbar, Sunshine Coast – Tickets

NOV 19 – Black Bear Lodge – Tickets

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