Louis The Child – “Love Is Alive” EP Review

Nick Gockel

Robby Hauldron and Freddy Kennett, better known as the rising electronic music duo Louis the Child, recently released their Love is Alive EP on March 24, 2017. What Rolling Stone acknowledges as one of the pioneers of the new Future Bass movement in electronic music, Louis the Child has seen exponential growth of their fan base largely because of the incredibly successful year they had in 2016. From their first single, “It’s Strange” – catching the eye of Taylor Swift and then the makers of FIFA – to hitting up major festivals such as Coachella, Governor’s Ball, and Lollapalooza, to finishing out the year with a headlining tour, Louis the Child has connected with the ears of millions because of their unique style.

Their new EP presents a slight change in direction from their previous releases. In an interview with Billboard, Kennett cites that the duo has come to understand “the importance of having songs that are more mellow and don’t feel like they have to be the craziest live thing ever.” Upon listening, Kennett’s comments ring true in that the EP has a lot more open mild cuts relative to their traditional style. The duo still succeeds in providing head-swinging cuts that are musically fulfilling and uplifting.

The EP starts off with “Go” which aptly sets the tone of the EP as a light and upbeat record. The track begins with echoing and bouncing synth line that revolves around Kennett’s voice. Even with the various tempo changes, Kennett’s voice provides an underlying unity to the track. Kennett comments that “It’s exciting to have a voice on a track. With ‘From Here’ [a previous Louis the Child release] I sung on it, but it wasn’t so much a vocal-centered song as this one is. I love the indie vibe there. It’s like Two Door Cinema Club mixed with our drums.” The indie vibe provided by the song is contagious and for me is one of the best songs on the EP.

The EP then moves towards the most familiar Louis the Child sound with the single “Fire”. This song was the first single to be released from the EP on September 30, 2016 and peaked at No. 30 in Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. The song starts with a tight percussion having a smooth after burn that underlies Evalyn’s powerful vocals. The grandiose drums pump life into the song as it builds to a burning point that eventually explodes with booming bass and with a glitzy upbeat synth. This track provides fans of the traditional Louis the Child style with another sing-along anthem.

Halfway through the EP comes a new single featuring the rising artist Chelsea Cutler titled “Slow Down Love”. This song is the furthest deviation from the group’s style, immediately providing a dark, eerie melody with Cutler’s vocals swooning over the track. The drop is a slow and deep bass connected with the signature steel drum that distinguishes the track. Although I would consider this song my least favorite on the EP, it is insightful to a potential avenue that the duo could explore in the future.

The next song switches up the flavor of the EP with a hip-hop influenced track titled “Phone Died” featuring blaise railey. Centered around a textbook 90’s hip-hop instrumental, blaise railey delivers carefree bars that encompass the feeling of the song. The almost chant-like pre-chorus makes it nearly impossible for the listener not to sing along. Hauldron recalls in making the pre-chorus of the song that ‘everyone in the house was screaming along with that when we recorded it.” Seeing Louis the Child go for a track with more of a hip-hop feel and finding success is a sign for optimism for hip-hop influenced tracks in the future.

The fifth song from the EP features the rising vocalist Ashe on the track titled “World on Fire”. “World on Fire” almost directly contrasts the anthem rap track “Phone Died”, with the duo producing a slow jazz influenced instrumental. This slow song has off-kilter drums paired with a piano that dances around Ashe’s smooth, silky vocal cut. The waning synth in the rhythm perfectly mirrors the slow and wavy feel of the song. It is definitely a nice change of pace that still possesses the Louis the Child feel with a down-tempo and melodic jazzy track.

The EP finishes with the title track of the album “Love is Alive” featuring Elohim. The second release behind “Fire”, “Love is Alive” is a very pure and natural song that encompasses the main feel of Louis the Child. The duo comments that “This song is very special to us, and carries a message we feel is very important especially considering the state of our world at the moment, we need more love, and we hope this song helps spread love.” Beginning with an open and empty space synth melody, Elohim’s vocals flow in on top of a tight punching kick. A heavy, groovy bass line enters in the chorus that pleases the ear mixed with Elohim’s tender vocals. Although there is not much depth to Elohim’s lyrics, the simplicity of the vocals evokes a heightened sense of emotion that translates through the song. Elohim commented that “When you’re writing from your heart and all intentions are pure, serendipitous magic seems to occur.” The magic of the track provides the listener with a delightful feeling of closure, enticing one to repeat the entire EP.

Having been a fan of the duo for years now, it is interesting to see their progression as artists. I stumbled upon the duo in 2014 through SoundCloud, where they were just starting to gain attention from a lot of the online electronic music publications for their remixes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Moxie Raia, and Magic Man. Their hype carried over into 2015, charting multi-million plays on Spotify and SoundCloud with remixes of Zella Day and Oh Wonder. The duo saw exponential growth in 2016 by playing top-notch live sets at major festivals, and being credited as co-collaborators on The Chainsmoker’s Grammy award winning track “Closer”.

2017 has already amounted to being a success for the duo. They started the year finishing up their headlining tour, then opening for the electronic music super-duo Porter Robinson and Madeon in Europe, and followed through with the release of their EP. They have already played to massive crowds at CRSSED Festival, Okeechobee, and still have EDC Japan, Middlelands, and Hangout Music Festival still booked in the upcoming months.

Overall, the Love is Alive EP puts on display the pure musical abilities of Louis the Child as exemplified through the wide spectrum of feelings behind each song. Kennett puts it perfectly in that “Each song [on the EP] has its own flavor, but it’s still ours, I think people are going to get that. You’re still going to feel like it’s one Louis the Child. It’s our writing style that people are going to hear.” Having set my expectations relatively high for the duo, they met and surpassed my expectations for the Love is Alive EP.

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