A lucid dream refers to the phenomenon of one being aware that they are in a dream. Swedish/Australian twins Miranda and Elektra Kilbey-Jannsson of Say Lou Lou create such a sensation bathed in a warm glow with their glistening debut album ‘Lucid Dreaming’.
The twins’ path to releasing their debut has been paved with many trials and tribulations, from the lawsuit that required them to change their original moniker (Saint Lou Lou), to signing to various labels, only to leave after one single with each. But, now sailing with a vessel of their own design, à Deux Records, the dream-pop darlings are ready to ride the waves of an unyielding industry and demonstrate their hypnotic elegance and stamina.
‘Everything We Touch’ immediately pulls you into the fairytale setting, with lyrics alluding to dragons, fire and bearing the Midas touch. It’s hazy Haim-inspired instrumentation and hook-heavy chorus embody that blissful time on a darkening summer day, where everything begins to become shrouded in shadows, but the sun-kissed air still radiates a welcome warmth.
The ambiguity of ‘Glitter’ is what gives the track the momentum it needs to soar to the sky as the jittering synths dance from wall to wall, recalling the quirkier works of Girls Aloud circa 2007. There’s a playful side to the melody of the verses that belies the girls’ haunting vocals, as heard in the lyrics, which seem to mainly depict the story of a carefree night out on the prowl, the intense and booming chorus encourages forgetting the archaic lesson of “All that glitters isn’t gold”, and enjoy living without looking to see what consequences may lurk beneath.
The album’s dreamy state briefly transforms into an alluring nu-disco gem for Lindstrøm collaboration, ‘Games For Girls’. The nostalgic vein that courses through the post-chorus groove is so powerful, you may find yourself having flashbacks of school discos. The engaging and grippingly romantic ‘Julian’ delves into ballad territory but utilises luxurious synths and a trickling beat to enrich the experience of it’s magnificence.
‘Angels’ harkens the balladry and theatrical flare of Lana Del Rey, while ‘Peppermint’ steals the spotlight as the album’s torch song. Liam Howe (FKA Twigs, Foxes, Marina & The Diamonds) loans his exceptional production skills to this work of candlelit romance. The lyrics relive the final days of a burnt out romance and during the times of struggling to move on, you remember the small things about your relationship that you may’ve taken for granted; such as the burn of peppermint flavoured kisses. Much like the lyrics, it’s little details help to construct a picture of something far greater; even the reverb in the duo’s vocals contribute to the smouldering grandeur.
The album takes a softer turn for the whispering and devastating beauty of ‘Beloved’. The dazzling ambience that sweeps through the song’s first half fuses with Miranda and Elektra’s trickling vocals, while the second half climbs to a dizzying height as the girls rise above a choir of synths, bringing peerless strength to the heartbreaking lyrics of loss and uncertainty.
‘Hard For a Man’ and ‘Wilder Than the Wind’ embody modern pop music at two of it’s finest points; the former – a booming electropop song full of space and experimental ambition, while the latter is a powerful Romeo & Juliet ode to love full of fiery hope and naive optimism.
Current single ‘Nothing But a Heartbeat’ is a relentless crescendo of electronic bliss. Although containing a luscious chorus with plenty of punch, the recipe for ‘Nothing…’ has similarities to that of their best ballads; silky guitars, gliding synths and a heavy drop of heaven.
“Lucid Dreaming” comes to a triumphant close with ‘Skylights’. Bombastic beats drive the album’s curtain call, but it’s the grand section of horns that play from the halfway checkpoint that keeps the song growing to gargantuan heights for a stellar finish.
Even in it’s most devastating moments, you feel a great degree of safety in the embrace of ‘Lucid Dreaming’s lulling aura; a vast majority of the album’s music feels inspired by the romantic glimmer of candlelight and the idyllic optimism of childhood fairytales.
Watch the music video for ‘Julian’ below: