Airing from Kolyma (2018)
Airing from Kolyma, Lilou & John’s sixth release and third EP, was recorded from April to May 2018 and was made to move away from the punk rock sound of Patriot Child to an acoustic sound reminding of Dissidentica but with more focus on pop melody and voice. Lilou & John let the backbeat guitar move to the background to put emphasis on vocals and lyrics. The idea of the album is to move beyond mainstream and present a new kind of guitar-based pop as well as presenting a few love songs for the outside-the-box music gourmet.
The album was well received by fans, and Joakim Andersen called it “a soundtrack to our era”, and a number of Hungarian websites, such as Libsi Figyelo and 888 wrote about the track “Free Woman”. Tim Whale from “Emerging Indie Bands” claimed that Lilou & John were able to “bridge chasms of political difference” and Thomaz Wiberg from Pink Tractor wrote that the album gave him “revolutionary feelings and fighting spirit”.
“Free Woman” is a song about the Hungarian Revolution against the Soviet Union in 1956, as well as an attempt to describe part of the story behind modern central European Conservatism in a few verses. The chorus ”I was a born a free woman” is intended to make the listener feel the conviction of the Cold war dissidents all over central Europe and how many often perceive history as a struggle for freedom from Imperial rule, such as Habsburg, Soviet and the EU. The ”camp fire” feel of the guitar is intended to symbolize the surge of popular Conservative sentiment in Hungary after enduring poverty, imprisonment, deportation and even the execution of family members before 1989. Lilou was inspired by ”Born in the USA” when she created the melody and wanted women to start thinking ”freedom is my birthright and nobody has the right to take that away from me, no matter what political color they have.”
“Revolutionary Road” is Lilou and John’s personal love story from their first date. They had already spoken six hours on the phone the day before and now John was driving 100 km to Lilou’s flat in Gothenburg. “I knew that whatever it took, no matter the cost, even if it killed me, I would have to let go of my lifelong fear of love and meet the woman with the dark alto voice. It was a hard road to drive away from my old life as a suicidal mess scared of intimacy and come out in the open. It took me years to be honest.” The chorus ”me ne frego” from the famous war poem by Gabriele d’Annunzio refers to this conviction to give everything he had for love or die trying.
Dead Girl Walking
“Dead Girl Walking” is a modern Guy Fawkes tale in combination with #120dB and #FreeTommy. The story spins around media and politics, asking the question of censorship and truth. “There is a tipping point in society and the song is trying to zoom in on that precise moment when public discontent might has been allowed to grow too big and people start acting violent for they see no other alternative, and the song is perhaps a warning to people”, John says. Originally, Lilou had an almost cynical voice when singing the song that changed into anger during the recording process, and the catchy melody and guitar were meant to give the tragic story a party wrapping that could emphasize the absurdity of the whole situation. ”The song deals with the logic of revolution and we try to explain why they happen”, she says. ”The murder at the end of the song is just our way to describe the growing public outrage. All politicians and journalists should listen to the song just to understand the other side of the story, like all our music, you can learn from it.”
“Soft Collision”, called “the best love song of 2018” by Joakim Andersen, is the story of two hearts melting together. It was originally based on an older love song and was slightly rewritten to match Lilou and John’s relationship of ups and downs. ”Love”, they say, ”is an adrenaline rush for the young, and a lifetime commitment for the old, but you have to work hard. Things don’t come easy.” Lilou says she sang in a way she had never sung before. ”It was like I was breathing the words, like I was breathing air from a cloud.”
“Alpha Dog” is a song about Capitalism and market economy, about personal freedom, about the beauty of industrial society, and about the choices that make up our lives. Ever since reading about Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” (John always reads the reviews for he is too lazy to read the whole book) he has wanted to write a song that celebrates secular egoism as a driving force in society, since ”without acceptance of egoism, Secularism and Capitalism people stop developing stuff and that makes people poor in the end.” Lilou says she was exhausted after the final recording. ”We had been doing the same song like ten times in the studio, there was always one tiny flaw somewhere, until we decided that this version just had to be good for my voice couldn’t take it anymore. It takes an awful lot of energy to sing and afterwards we had to rest for a while before we could move on. I want it to be perfect and it annoys me when something isn’t exactly the way I want it to be.”