Montreal songwriter Helena Deland started to spark excitement with her series of Altogether Unaccompanied EPs released in 2018, and went a bit quiet thereafter. She has returned this week to stoke the embers of enthusiasm with a new song called “Lylz”.
The song is titled after Deland’s best friend and was inspired by the Boulanger sisters Lili and Nadia; two women composers in the early 20th century. Following Lili’s passing at a young age, Nadia devoted the rest of her life to spreading the word of her sister’s musical talent. Deland heard the sisters’ work for the first time when her best friend Lylz arranged a recital of their work.
All of this back story is embedded into “Lylz”; the love, the devotion, the combined strength needed in the big and imposing world. Deland approaches all of this with a light, painterly touch, her words floating across swishing guitar, while booming percussion provides a simple but sturdy backing. With the help of producer Jacob Portrait (of Unknown Mortal Orchestra), they have built “Lylz” into a beautifully textured track, with atmospheric instrumental additions that whoosh all around, adding depth. Deland’s voice remains resolute and unwavering at the core: “let’s get out of here, we’ve had it / it’s all smoke and mirrors, the time has come for us to vanish.”