LAUREL’s DOGVIOLET is an antidote for all the crazy shit love does to our minds

I’m going to be pretty honest and tell you that this wasn’t even close to my first time listening, and just straight up doting over LAUREL. But I will say, the release of her debut album DOGVIOLET has permanently cemented her as one of the most dynamic and diverse artists I’ve come across of late.

I first stumbled across the young UK songwriter in the depths of a multiple hour music dig, and since that serendipitous moment, she’s become one of the very few artists I consistently find myself coming back to.

If you’ve ever wondered what a completely entrancing, other-worldly fusion of PJ Harvey, Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent sounds like, it’s Southampton raised Laurel Arnell-Cullen.

Over the past few years LAUREL’s cinematic combination of rich, layered backing tracks and darkly stunning vocals has earned her a loyal following and international success.

After a substantial period delving into LAUREL’s previous releases, I found myself constantly looking for more from her. Amongst demos and single releases, there was a real intimacy in her artistry that grabs you from beginning to end.

Despite this, it was the completely live recordings that seemed to entrance anyone lucky enough to be listening. Two of which, Hold Tight and Life Worth Living, feature on the debut album.

The intimacy and rawness expressed of her live performances is the exact reason DOGVIOLET will come as a completely spellbinding experience for its listeners and will mark a new, exciting chapter in the musical evolution of LAUREL.

The album captures her signature layered vocal textures contrasted with dark, distorted and often hypnotic electric guitar tracks in the most authentic form of production we’ve seen from her.

The 12-track LP was recorded in her London-based bedroom studio, then fed back through a reel-to-reel tape recorder as a means of capturing the genuine, unedited emotion one only emits when performing in their most intimate environment.

This method ensured that the beautiful nuances of her live performances were captured in their perfectly imperfect form. The cherished outcome of the bedroom recordings is a breathtaking vulnerability that runs amidst every track featured on the album.

A sequential listen to DOGVIOLET reveals an bittersweet narrative of love, loss and the honest reckonings of madness in the midst of all of it.

Same Mistakes uncovers the all-too-relatable experiences of wanting someone you can’t have, made even more heart-wrenching by the journal-like revelations that evolve throughout it. LAUREL is one of those exceptionally rare artists that can take blind, seemingly irrational emotions and shape them into tangible expressions of hurt, lust and guilt.

The entirety of DOGVIOLET presents the same rich, poetic expressions of infatuation and complete adulation. Every track is pervaded by the all-consuming dreamlike quality that somehow encompasses our own individual memories of love and loss.

The overall experience is a magnetic sequence of reflections that will resonate with anyone who has experienced the joy and madness that often comes with falling in love, and the desperation and guilt of loving someone you shouldn’t.

Aside from the striking accompaniment, the thing that sets DOGVIOLET aside is the very real, raw grittiness that drives every note into a deeper point of personal reflection. Every track seems to build towards an overwhelming catharsis of guilt, love, loss and madness. To say the least, the result is mesmerising.

LAUREL’s DOGVIOLET has presented us with an intimate exposition of complete adoration and utter powerlessness. It’s her most effortless and organic release yet.


DOGVIOLET is out August 24.