Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Lucid pop may be a bit much for listeners on L'illon's debut album

March 10, 2010

The debut album from Washington, D.C., based singer/songwriter L’illon is an interesting take on many musical genres coming together to create the pop album that is Warrior Angel. The artist herself describes the ten-track album as “lucid pop.”

In a statement regarding Warrior Angel, L’illon says, “I like to think of it as part of a new musical revolution, drawing from ancient tones, melodic filigree, harmonic complexity…”  Unfortunately this “musical revolution” sounds similar to the mood music that the listener would expect to hear while relaxing at a spa.

Although the singer has a somewhat soothing voice, at times it seems the songs would be much more enjoyable if the cheesy vocals were dropped altogether.  The instrumentals are unique and colorful, but it is incredibly hard to take seriously lyrics like “Mister shy guy.”  The percussion and guitar hint at a Latino influence, so the appeal that L’illon has reached with Europeans is understandable.  However, she is definitely lacking the intensity and fierceness of the likes of Shakira and Paulina Rubio.

Despite the fact that the album has drawn some attention from within the indie world, it seems almost misleading to consider her “indie” with the stereotype that follows that title.  L’illon’s music seems of the type that would be much more appealing to under-romanticized, middle-aged women versus the coffee-shop going, rock-concert-attending listener.

L’illon makes it apparent that one of her goals is to be incredibly honest and straight-forward with her lyrics, which is different from the typical vague, metaphorical songs of many indie artists today.  Her listeners will likely appreciate the chance to understand the song’s meaning from the beginning, rather than trying to play a guessing game of decoding.

In reference to the term she coined, “lucid pop,” L’illon says that “you can feel a new spark of sensuality and vibrancy so that everyone can feel cool, modern, and sexy in their own skin.”  The exotic sounds of songs on Warrior Angel will probably achieve that for those who like hypnotic beats mixed with pop vocals.  Songs like “Love Story” and “Navigate Me Home” will leave you imagining belly dancers and colorful costumes in a psychedelic new age realm, which may not be the most pleasant experience for those of us who have become accustomed to the comfort of acoustic and alternative rock.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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