Louis the Child, the Chicago-based duo comprised of Robby Hauldren and Freddy Kennett, has had somewhat of an iconic come-up. From touring with Madeon, Porter Robinson, and the Chainsmokers, to dropping million-view bangers with vocalist K.Flay, the two have captured an optimistic wavey sound which has proved contagious within electronic music as of the last twelve months. The group’s debut EP, the Love is Alive EP, serves as a hybrid between the unheard and the old.
The EP features already released singles such as Fire (feat. Evalyn), Phone Died (feat. blaise railey) and namesake track Love is Alive (feat. Elohim), whilst also serving up three new tracks which direct the duo’s idiosyncratic style into a more experimental direction.
The eclectic and reverby introduction track to the EP, Go, features punchy dnb-esque percussion style alongside the vocal feature of Louis the Child’s very own Freddy Kennett. The lyrics, “Where is it you wanna go?” are repeated multiple times, as if to give the sense that the track is directed based on personal whim. The record evokes a warm feeling to say the least, but it is definitely one I could see getting exhausted quickly with the relatively repetitive lyrics.
The second track, Fire (feat. Evalyn), is by now an integral part of many high-energy festival DJ sets. The contrasting bass and wavey high-ends make this track familiar, but independent on the EP. Of course, Fire stands up just as well as a production as it does from a songwriting standpoint. It’s hard to come by anyone who neglects to recall the highly memorable lyrics, “And if it goes down in flames / The smoke’s gonna spell my name.” The memorability nonetheless comes as no surprise thanks to the service of Evalyn, who really completes the track on account of delivering the text of the track with conviction and style.
Track number three, Slow Down Love features Chelsea Cutler, who provides a performance that offers some treble in the context of a particularly bizarre record comprised of steel drums and deep basses. Slow Down Love probably sticks as one of the finer offerings of the EP, and most definitely is the finest of the three new tracks as far as Louis the Child’s typical style goes.
Phone Died features rapper blaise railey, and independent of the extremely poppy songwriting, the record flaunts a hybrid between a modern electronic-pop track and an old-fashioned record. This element specifically set out in the distinction between a Rhodes-esque organ and the deep bass hits shines through as a combo worth admiring. However, the track fails to pay mind to intention and falls flat from a writing perspective.
World on Fire features songwriter Ashe and slides a little bit of a classical element into an EP which spends a large amount of time on the non-classical, electronic-centric front. The track is comprised exclusively of a piano and some other minor acoustic elements. While the record is not as primed for pop-material as any of the other records on the EP, it provides evidence of the formally mentioned experimental nature that the duo prided themselves on in some of their newer records.
The final song, Love is Alive, is likely by now already a familiar facet of a chill playlist your college roommate put together to listen to whilst studying. Vocalist Elohim offers up a repetitive but curious collection of lines alongside a bass well layered with guitar and all.
Overall, the Love is Alive EP features the warm Louis the Child definition of style – wavey synths and all. However, although their spins on their already successful style are worthwhile and noted, they don’t nearly live up to the standard set by their former hit electronic records. At just an 18 minute running time, the EP feels far too short, and perhaps that is more a personal indicator of a necessity to hear more of what the duo has to offer. But despite the three new tracks inducted into Louis the Child’s discography, the EP release offers only more of what we’ve already heard. Independently though, those three tracks offer up an insightful and elaborate continued curation of the duo’s style, and for that reason, the EP is exceptional and worthy.
[Cover art courtesy Louis the Child]