Say Lou Lou – ‘Immortelle’ review

From twisted waltz to retro-futurist disco, there’s plenty here to suggest that 2018 is a vintage year for Say Lou Lou

You may well be familiar with Say Lou Lou (once Saint Lou Lou), whether you’re fully aware of it or not. Swedish-Australian twins Miranda and Elektra Kilbey wracked up streams in their millions with 2012/2013 singles ‘Maybe You’, ‘Julian’ and ‘Better In The Dark’, before landing a place on The BBC Sound Of 2014 longlist. They were in fine company. Royal Blood, Jungle and FKA Twigs were also in there, but lost out on the shortlist to the likes of George Ezra, Sampha, BANKS and winner Sam Smith. Vintage year, eh?

Many of the aforementioned artists became household names. Not everyone, though. A crystal-cut collection of pop-noir gems extending their glacial sound into dark dancefloor territory, Say Lou Lou’s 2015 debut ‘Lucid Dreaming’ won fawning critical praise, but sadly only modest commercial success. In the interim years, they retreated to Los Angeles to experiment away from the pressures and prying of the industry to create ‘Immortelle’.

Fans of their earlier work will be thrilled to hear that the film-noir drama is back in earnest. Lead single and opener ‘Ana’ has that panther-like trip-hop slink of Portishead at their most torn and menacing, as the musicians sing of being driven to madness by longing. Then, the curtains lift over an almighty classic James Bond theme-worthy crescendo. Someone tell Sam Smith that the writing is, indeed, on the wall.

Towering follow-up single ‘Golden Child’ carries that same thread of aching grace with cinematic scope, as they implore women to “let their horses run wild” rather than be “frozen” by expectations. That sense of liberation and drive is what makes ‘Immortelle’ such a compelling listen.

‘Limbo’ is a twisted waltz, while‘All Love To Me’ offers instant gratification with a Goldfrapp-esque strut; the lovelorn ‘Phantoms’ is pure romance – albeit with sci-fi flourishes – and the closing title track is a retro-futurist ‘70s disco banger. At just seven tracks long, this all ends far too soon – but leaves us in no doubt that 2018 is a vintage year for Say Lou Lou, after all.