I feel as if I’ve been waiting decades to finally write about Say Lou Lou’s debut record. I’ve been a fan from when they were called Saint Lou Lou and I probably annoyed everyone to high heaven by banging on about their song Maybe You. I had no idea what their sound would turn into from hearing Maybe You and Julian. They have this wonderful way of being a pop band but with non conventional means. They are dark, atmospheric, open and easy to relate to. I’ve spent my time listening to Lucid Dreaming by making notes, I’ve never really done this before but they evoke so much it was hard to keep track. It’s a record you instantly fall in love with, and I’m happy that the world can finally hear what Elektra and Miranda have been creating, in full.
The record starts with Everything We Touch, the perfect way to starter. That song is a gentle dance tune that makes you feel good. Lucid Dreaming is a heartbreaker of a record, it is for those who have hurt, who will hurt (either get hurt or cause it) and are hurt. It’s painful but there are moments that are full of hope, love and free of pain. You cling to it all, in the hopes of it one day being your safety net.
Glitter feels like it should be a single, and to hear it live will be a truly magical part of the set. It’s got a camp 80s feel to it, sometimes I don’t want that but Say Lou Lou have made this glamorous and fabulous song that takes all the best elements of pop music, and make it their own. Can we start an online petition to make this a single? It’s got proper attitude to it, and would come alive at night-time in sordid night clubs as you make your way home on a damp and lonely Saturday night. Where Glitter sounds like an 80s pop tune, Games For Girls sounds like a 90s pop gem. It doesn’t sound like the others, it doesn’t have that dark feel to it but it fits so perfectly on the record.
When Julian appears it is like putting on your favourite item of clothing. It is safe and familiar, and I think for anyone just getting into the band this may be the song they latch onto. I still do and I’ve been a fan for some time. In some ways I’m glad Maybe You isn’t on here because I wouldn’t be able to let that song go and love the rest. But at the same time, I really miss the song. It should be on there, but that’s because I’ve got way too much sentimental value attached to it. And maybe I should learn to let it go. I’m learning.
Angels (Above Me) is one I’ll probably keep coming back to when it feels like something is missing from general life. It is the most “human” song on the record. I wish I could explain what I mean, but I really can’t. All I know is there is something really fragile about that song, Miranda and Elektra aren’t afraid to expose all those ugly yet passionate feelings we have. They do it in a way that makes you feel less ashamed and able to pull through whatever it may be. For me it is one of the most atmospheric songs on the record and their vocals truly shine on this song.
Peppermint and Beloved are THE most heartbreaking songs on the record, and they make you wish it never happens to you. Of course it will, you cannot escape that. Beloved posses one of the most honest lines I’ve heard, “Love is a facade for hate.” It just stays with you, it’ll haunt you and you’ll question yourself should you fall in love, or lust even. Peppermint is a break-up song that makes you wish the bad will pass. It’s that first stage of a break-up where you try to process it, and you will. Eventually. And when you do, you’ll find another song on Lucid Dreaming to connect with which I’ll mention shortly.
Hard For A Man is possibly my favourite. The whole record makes me thing of a time I’ve done well so far with ignoring/forgetting, and I can remember it all now with none of it touching me thankfully ha. Hard For A Man is so easy to relate to, and I don’t mean from the singer’s perspective. For me, I can relate to the person they are singing about. That kind of trouble stays with you but you can hide it so it doesn’t rub off on anyone else. We cling to the bad because we never expect good things to happen or last, but they do. They really really do, and it’s best thing when you stop being awkward about it. It is such a vulnerable song, and it encourages you to let go, to stop holding onto whatever it is that’s making you a monster or whatever is scaring you. I love the line, “I’ll be as gentle as I can.” It’s a real unconventional love song, and they are the best kind.
Wilder Than The Wind is the one song that takes you to a time of year rather than a place or moment. It makes you feel as if you’re in the depths of winter. Cold and alone, and this song is your safety net. It fits in perfectly and easily with the underlying romantic tone of the record. It gives you the guts to escape all that’s making you miserable- whether it be a city, a job, a person, a situation. It just gives you that kick you need.
Nothing But A Heartbeat is the aftermath of Peppermint. It’s that realisation that you’ll be alright and you don’t need much, if anything to get by. You can have nothing left of your former self but you’ll rebuild what another destroyed with no problem at all. If you want to escape that “Why me?!” feeling, head straight for Nothing But A Heartbeat and you’ll be fine.
The record ends with Skylights. I’m fairly sure they played this when I saw them at Concrete in 2013 I think?! It’s the perfect song to end this gorgeous record on. The drums are big on this. So bold and loud, the song fills you with hope and the urge to just carry on. Because with all the fuck-ups we cause and fall into, you just have to. Some part of you that died comes back to life, and this is what Skylights does. It just has to be in their live set, and should be what they end on.
As Say Lou Lou are a band I’ve loved from the start, I am so so proud of the song they have created and so proud of what they’ve done on their debut. Lucid Dreaming feels like the soundtrack to a black and white foreign film. Foreign films have way more class and elegance about them, and in some parts Lucid Dreaming feels like the broken woman falling for the troubled man who is unattainable, and she realises this when he doesn’t walk her home after they go for dinner. No weekends away, just brief moments that aren’t long enough but are still meaningful.
Lucid Dreaming is the best pop record you’ll hear this year, and what makes it stand out is that it goes against that overproduced and too sweet pop you hear on the radio right now. They grab and squash the idea of what mainstream pop should sound like. Lucid Dreaming is dark, tormented, romantic and hopeful. The best people are and the best records are too.
Say Lou Lou are playing Heaven (London) on 8th April and Lucid Dreaming is out next Monday.