There are routes into Helena Deland's music that might seem conventional at first. Listening to "There Are a Thousand," "A Stone Is a Stone," and "Rise" from her 2018 EP collection Altogether Unaccompanied, for example, Deland sounds like a nuanced and talented artist with an knack for self-editing, a singer who knows when not to do too much, and a songwriter who can whip up drama without taking shortcuts. But, taken as a whole, the Vancouver-born, Montreal-based Deland's still modestly sized catalog is more confounding. She has a gift for texture, and she appears to take each of her ideas on its own merits, as convincing playing fuzzy rock as she is on muffled synth-pop songs. Since releasing the fourth part of her series two years ago, Deland's only official release was "Free The Frail," a collaboration with JPEGMAFIA, the standout from the Baltimore artist's All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Deland can, it seems, take her music where she pleases.
Her first solo single since the Altogether Unaccompanied series is "Lylz," premiering above. The song is based on the the relationship between Lili Boulanger, the turn-of-the-century French composer who died at 24, and her older sister, Nadia, who evangelized Lili's work for the rest of her life. Over supple and muted guitars, Deland turns that story into a tribute to her friend, the song's namesake, who herself put on a concert of the Boulanger sisters and introduced Deland to their work. "'Lylz' is about the aching forever-after of female friendship," Deland wrote in an email to The FADER. "It follows the promises of two people who share a dissatisfaction with the state of things, and so project themselves into a more interesting future full of adventure and recognition."
Watch the video for "Lylz" at the top of the page. The song is out now via Luminelle.