Label: B-Unique Records UK Ltd/AWAL Recordings Ltd
Release Date: 12th June 2020
"This album has inadvertently taken on a second meaning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. One day at a time is how many are living their lives amidst the confusion."
You know what you’re going to get with Kodaline. That’s not a criticism, merely a statement of fact. The Irish band are infamous for their strong guitar melodies and catchy hooks. Their fourth studio album, One Day at a Time, is the latest demonstration of this.
The Irish band are infamous for their strong guitar melodies and catchy hooks, with their fourth studio album One Day at a Time the latest demonstration of this. None of this matters in the slightest. The first two tracks on the album, ‘Wherever You Are’ and ‘Sometimes’, released earlier in the year as singles, are melodic, soulful beats which serve to demonstrate just how great a vocal range lead singer Steve Garrigan truly possesses.
This album has inadvertently taken on a second meaning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. One day at a time is how many are living their lives amidst the confusion and lockdown, and such a title is beautifully apt for the current situation. The tracks are a celebration of friends, families, and support networks, which will undoubtedly strike a chord with listeners on account of the fact that many have been forced to spend time without their loved ones.
‘Sometimes’ is perhaps where Garrigan is at his most vulnerable across the entire album, touching on themes of his own daily struggle, mental breakdowns, and the pressure to put on a “good show”. The overarching message of the album is reinforced throughout this track, as he puts in his first verse, “every day is a chance to fight”. Garrigan has been vocal about his own mental health struggles. Speaking to Evoke in September 2019, Steve revealed his own battles with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, and these experiences are undoubtedly reflected in the album. The mantra “one day at a time” appears as much a reminder to himself as it is an aid to others.
The theme of support for others is reinforced throughout the album. Particularly poignant in ‘Heart Open’, the band encourage listeners to open up to people whilst reminding them that just struggling doesn’t mean you’re “broken”. It reminds those who live with mental health issues that it can happen to everyone and doesn’t detract from the individual as a person, is beautifully encapsulated by the simple piano accompaniment to Garrigan’s voice, giving the entire track a deeply cutting effect.
Kodaline’s music has not drastically evolved stylistically since their first album was released in 2013, but they are so good at what they do that it has not had to. The lyrics across each album tell their own stories, and One Day at a Time is no different, drawing on themes of isolation, anxiety, and willpower. The combination of easy-listening folk/pop tracks and an incredibly loyal fanbase that has propelled each previous album to number one in the Irish charts means that One Day at a Time stands a fantastic chance of continuing this tradition. The question on everybody’s lips will be: where do they go from here?
Words by Ben Browning.
17th June 2020.