23 January 2024 Reviews
20-year-old Australian singer-songwriter Holly Riva has released powerful single ‘Labyrinth (Mask Of Me)’ on January 12th, continuing a huge swell of momentum that has seen the 2023 John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner snowball in popularity since her emergence last year. On January 19th Riva will also release an Antonio Ruffino-directed music video, a vibrant and exciting accompaniment to the track with an fun aesthetic that evokes the spirit and vibe of HBO series Euphoria.
The new single explores the double lives that so many people often lead, with online, filtered versions of themselves proving to be miles away from their authentic selves and creating a disparity that Riva describes as “a lie that you can't live up to, the truth always eventually creeps up on you".
The illusion and mystique of the narrative is mirrored perfectly through the expansive sound, with LA based Ben Epand’s dark electronic production paired with the sweet but deadly warm vocals which creates the perfect blend. The lyric “A city made of ancient stone, my heart it shatters, can’t break the patterns” depicts the maze-like Grecian setting that features throughout the track as well as emphasising the mask being the filter we use when hiding our authentic selves and the patterns we can’t break out of. There is a real feeling of fierceness throughout here, with all of the elements and facets of the track working together to create a distinctive and memorable allure.
Riva says "We live in time with epidemic mental health issues with my generation and I feel this plays a huge roles”. The title alludes to, not truly letting anybody in for fear of seeing the real us and ultimately, creating complex emotional issues hidden within a maze of illusions.
The reggaeton Latin beat kicks off the track with its fierce distinctive rhythm, creating a truly unique pop track, and one that adds to this feel of mystery and intrigue. Riva says "I went into the co write with a top line and chord progression that I thought would sit well and the guys took it down an electronic path that flipped it on its head, there was a magic flowing in the Hollywood studio with Ben and KONG, it was incredible, we knew we were onto something.”