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Subtlety meets splendour on Wasia Project's latest "Is This What Love Is?"

21 March 2024, 12:00 | Written by Ims Taylor

British-Asian sibling duo Wasia Project continue their evocative indie-pop mastery on “Is This What Love Is?”, a barrel of emotions tidily packaged in rousing chaos

Wasia Project are duo Will Gao and Olivia Hardy, siblings and multitalented masters of creating songs that tell stories, both with their lyrics and their sonic choices. The cohesion of Gao, who starred in Heartstopper, and Hardy’s partnership is obvious across every track they’ve released so far, each one an eclectic but perfectly balanced mix of sounds, genres, and influences. Their attention to detail makes for stunning, hypnotic listening, and it’s easy to picture how immersive it would be live too.

Their latest, “Is This What Love Is?” is their first offering of the year, and follows a slew of ruminating indie-pop gems across 2023. It continues down that reflective, urgent path, opening with a thrumming, too-fast heartbeat that remains frantic throughout. Hardy’s melody is dynamic and stormy, leaping and falling with the instrumental never more than a couple of moments behind, echoing her emotion. What begins as a driven but delicate sound soon evolves into a writhing tangle of strings, percussion, fluttering backing vocals and dense, chaotic textures.

It’s a fitting backdrop for the existential, desperate questions Hardy poses in the lyrics, painfully puzzling out her own feelings to identify between love and a myriad of other options. It’s panicked, doubtful, pleading, and anxiety-inducing, and the pair have captured the feeling so well that it’s almost hard to listen to - at least it would be, if Hardy’s silky vocals weren’t such a serene tonic to the fear and stress.

Speaking on the track, the duo explain “‘Is This What Love Is?’ describes the experience of uncontrollable emotions, like a car that’s going too fast with someone else behind the wheel. It questions sadness and doubt in all types of love, and the drama that comes with caring deeply for things.”

"Is This What Love Is?" is out now. Find Wasia Project on Instagram.

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