Helena Deland returns with spooky yet summery ode to friendship “Lylz”

Montreal-based artist Helena Deland explores the past while celebrating the present with her comeback single “Lylz”, out now on Luminelle Records.

At long last, Helena Deland is back. After a short hiatus, the Canadian singer-songwriter has returned with new track “Lylz,” rumoured to be off of her long-awaited forthcoming record. The track– released by cool-kid label Luminelle Recordings— is a celebration of women in music throughout history packaged up in an easy, carefree summertime track.

Deland‘s previous projects exhibit the singer-songwriter’s uncanny ability to shed secrets, share sadness, and convey a sense of melancholic hope by pairing devastating guitar interludes with revelatory lyrics. Prior releases also expose the Montreal-based musician’s propensity to sonically shapeshift. Her gorgeous Altogether Unaccompanied series– a collection of four short EPs released throughout 2018– has moments that are stripped bare followed by tracks dripped with electronic embellishments. Songs are steeped in anecdote-driven lyrics paired with unparalleled specificity, only to have the next track be filled with vague, repetitive, seemingly meaningless verses. At times, she seems to have torn pages out of indie icon Mitski‘s songbook. The next moment, she borrows the etherealism of a Lana Del Rey radio hit. Deland‘s newest release follows this trend; “Lylz” doesn’t sound like anything Deland has ever released before. That said, all of Deland‘s releases old and new share one characteristic: they’re utterly brilliant.

The meaning behind “Lylz” comes straight from the dog-eared pages of Deland‘s proverbial history textbook. The track is an ode to the Boulanger sisters, two noted French composers who performed during the late 1800s into the early 1900s. The younger, Marie-Juliette Olga “Lili” Boulanger, died at the age of 24. Following her untimely death, Lili‘s older sister Nadia worked to show off her sister’s musical compositions to the world, often programming her sister’s music and her own while simultaneously carving out a space for the two siblings in musical history. It’s therefore fitting that Deland‘s track similarly celebrates her own friend– nicknamed “Lylz”– who shares Deland‘s love for both music and the Boulangers. Nadia‘s commitment to championing the work of those she loved lives on centuries later with Helen Deland and her friend Lylz.

Suffice to say, Deland is a thoughtful and cerebral musician. However, her obvious intelligence never feels pretentious or put on. Stripped of its beautiful backstory, “Lylz” loses none of its magic. Deland details days spent with her eponymous friend taking car rides and sitting on park benches. With raspy guitar, gravelly vocals, and a head-bobbing chorus, the track has all of the makings of a fun-filled bop with the added fun of a spooky twist. “You’ll be famous for burning,” Deland sings in her stunning, soothing voice. As old legends and new stories blend together, it’s unclear if she’s referring to the women who have been left behind in the past or those with her in the present. Maybe that’s the point.

Watch the video and get the track via Bandcamp below.

Claire Greising

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