Song: The Dawdler – Lava Lamps review

by Philip Moss

As a kid, a lava lamp sat on my bedside table. A gift from my grandparents, I would spend hours not just watching the orange wax dance and and swirl and meld, but also the shadows it created on the wall and ceiling. In some ways, I was lost in its seemingly magical presence; in others, left questioning the science behind the spectacle it created. Either way, it was a headspace – even though, at the time, the entire concept of mental health wasn’t even a thing that existed in my world. And looking back, I don’t think I realised how lucky I was for these moments – brought to me by a light being shone into a glass bottle – to exist in my adolescent life.

For some people, headspace never truly exists. Inspired by a friend’s huge collection of lava lamps, John Edgar aka The Dawdler’s new single, Lava Lamps, reflects on his final moments spent with Ewan before his untimely passing. ‘It’s mad how you can pinpoint that moment and go over and over it,’ Edgar explains, ‘What could I have said or done to alter events? Did I miss signals?’ Which is why the work that charities such as Mind and Breathing Space, who The Dawdler will be donating all profits from the single to, are so vitally important.

Drifting by in under three minutes, Lava Lamps is a special ode that quietly cries out to be played on repeat. Hanging off his loosely picked acoustic guitar, it is as emotive as it is spacious. ‘If I had known it was the last time…’ Edgar sings, deep down realising he will likely never find the answers. But the questioning is what is important. The care is still there and always will be. In the melancholy, a growing contentment is present, but it will never truly be realised. There is, of course, a North East twang to the Tynesider’s voice, but it patiently grows into a stunning lilt – bringing to mind the softer breaches of Jonsi. Its mournful strings never take centre stage, but weave in and out of focus. Like the lava lamp that I spent so many childhood hours watching, as it it gently bubbled away, The Dawdler’s music is made to get lost in.

Lava Lamps is taken from the upcoming EP, Sign of Growth – out later this year on Akira Records.

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