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EP Review: Gordi - 'Inhuman'

Updated: May 3, 2023

Life is overwhelming. The stress can come from life’s highlights: a wedding, the birth of a child, and the beginning of a dream job. However, it can also be caused by devastating world events: a lingering pandemic, a destructive flood, and wildfires that scorch the landscape. Whether good stress or bad, finding an outlet is necessary.

Some people drink away their worries, clouding heavy thoughts and burying unwanted emotions. Others sweat them out, running and working out until exhaustion takes over. Yet there is also the creative type, those individuals who express their inner conflict through art, dance, and confessional memoir. Sophie Payten, better known as Gordi, uses her music.

First Attempt at a First Listen

When I receive a new album, I try to go in with an open mind. My preferred sound, immediate mood, and situation must be put aside. Sometimes that is difficult. In the summer, I want upbeat music that I can dance to, like Flying Lotus or Goose, but not every musician creates that style. Or I am feeling light and easy, but the album I get is heavy. (Check out Cross Record’s self-titled album, which was released on August 2, 2019.) The conflict between my wants and what I receive forces me to shift and rearrange my thoughts so I can write a review that lifts the artist. I must confess: this is how I felt when I first listened to Gordi’s new EP Inhuman.

“Burn All The Time Machines” starts slow. There is a hypnotic string “waw-waw-waw-waw” rhythm and heavy lyrics. “All the cuts bleed . . . you try even harder to make her feel alone.” However, it is an excellent build to the chorus. Then “Grass Is Blue” starts with a sad piano intro.

I was preparing for a weekend of live music during my first listen, and my mood was upbeat. Listening to slow, thoughtful music was not what I was looking for. So, I put Inhuman aside.

Mentally Prepared

I’m so damn dramatic. Everything seems like such a big deal, but I just need to prep myself. And I have to do that for most things like hanging out with friends, eating meals, and going to work. So, sitting back down at my computer, I listened to Inhuman, read through the press release, and looked at a couple of different Gordi (Sophie Payten) bios. Adding context to an album almost always helps me.

“Burn All The Time Machines” hit me similarly to my first listen. I liked the intro and the overall sound. When “Grass Is Blue” came on, I was prepared. In a song about heartbreak, Payten sings, “I just can’t make it one day without you/ unless I pretend the opposite is true. . . I’m perfectly fine, and I don’t miss you/the sky is green, and the grass is blue.” Clever, beautiful, and shorter than an episode of Uncoupled on Netflix.

In her press release, Gordi said, “When I wrote ‘Inhuman,’ I was thinking about the blackened roadsides on my drive from Sydney to Lismore in 2019. I had to turn back halfway because the fires were too out of control.” She continued:

"I was supposed to start work in Lismore Hospital on the Monday where I would meet countless patients who couldn’t be discharged because their homes had been destroyed. Hearing one story after the next made me numb, and being numb to that sort of tragedy feels like forgetting to be human."

Although that should not be necessary, it helped me contextualize this album. Payten is a doctor dealing with the weight of her situation. She wants to care, but she has to put her emotions aside to do her job. The musician is her outlet, and “Inhuman” is a brilliant expression of her thoughts and feelings.

“Stranger” is the catchiest song on the album. Although the lyrics are heavy, the contrast between them and the music helps it go down easier.

By the time I get to “Visitor,” I am into Inhuman. The songs are becoming more upbeat. Although she has disassociated herself, she can watch and learn, allowing her empathy to come through.

Then, “Way I Go” is optimism.

Final Thought: This is a long review that skims over Gordi’s musical ability. She creates a beautifully expressive album, a journey for her and the listener.

Favorite Song: “Way I Go”

Rating - 5/5 (because she changed my mind and made me appreciate this EP during the summer when I want to be easy and carefree.)

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