Following her previous EP that was The Lioness, Cardiff’s own songwriter and artist Lily Dooner has ventured off down a new pathway for this latest release, allowing the underlying sentiments and emotions to guide the artistic process in a somewhat experimental and brilliantly creative manner.
Hinkypunk starts things up, building around you an immediately intriguing and haunting soundscape – minimalist yet rhythmically entrancing. Meanwhile, Lily’s softly expressive vocals quickly draw you in, and slowly but surely these lyrics craft around you a cavern of deep thought and intimate reflections on life.
As the song goes on, the journey brings about certain subtleties that help create a rising sense of intensity – magnifying those honest thoughts and feelings in a powerful way. The latter half ultimately envelopes the listener in a fairly breath-taking moment of desperation and uncertainty. Considering the title, the thoughts the song provokes, there’s something awesomely poignant about this progression.
Erosion sees the energy shift entirely, a wall of distorted and heavy synths fill the room in a sudden and striking manner. Then Lily’s voice, again standing out amidst the instrumental, even with its purity and quietness, takes on a simple wave of a melody, delivering lyrics that pierce through the noise of the world to connect with those inner struggles and demons so many of us find ourselves attempting to deal with… On some base level I know this will be fine…
Things get much darker, harder to swallow yet refreshingly honest, and meanwhile the soundscape once again reflects the rising weight and pain of the lyrics in a mighty fashion.
The welcomed softness of an acoustic guitar pours through for the beautifully melodic and decidedly calming Casualty Of Carelessness. Categorically a musical highlight for its folk-like optimism and the contrasting lyrical openness – not to mention the incredibly powerful poetry at work. The way the melody and the story-line develop and evolve is stunning, certain intricacies add to this underlying build-up in a clever way, effectively fusing the alternative nature of the writing with the accessible and satisfying nature of the melody to a brilliant degree. The result is something that feels mildly familiar, yet also like a breath of fresh and unapologetically real air. Amazing writing, hypnotic and addictive, quite probably one of the best and most interesting songs to emerge this year.
Havisham brings the EP to a close with a sense of space and intimacy. The welcoming strum of a guitar, the upfront and personal presentation of the voice, the poetry and the observations in line with unwaveringly honest reflections on life and the role of the self. The formula is simple enough, but the outcome is much more complex. As is the job of the artist, to take that which has perhaps been felt or thought before, and to access and explain it in some new, unedited and eye-opening manner. For all of these reasons, these songs connect in a compelling and eloquent way.
The style in which this project balances musical artistry with a deeper exploration of mental health issues, modern life, femininity, is truly something worth experiencing right now. The careful hints of emotion that Lily injects into her performances help really bring the lyrics alive, letting them connect on a profound and lasting level. This is the kind of escapism that embraces the darker parts of life and somehow turns them into a strangely warming arena of understanding. Absolutely an artist worth knowing about.