words by Michael Hutchinson

To those unfamiliar, Say Lou Lou are twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kilbey, daughters of iconic Australian band The Church‘s frontman Steve Kilbey, the band responsible for the legendary 80’s hit ‘Under The Milky Way’. There is a heck of lot to live up to if they are to emulate, and fortunately this first album delivers in spades. Like their fathers band, most of their songs were written themselves, although the duo never set out to follow in their father’s footsteps; they began making music together for fun, which culminated in them writing and recording together.

They’ve released five singles during the past two years, all of which appear on the album, and there’s not a bad word to say about any of them. Lucid Dreaming is more a collection of a body of work, with additional new tracks, rather than an album one is entirely unfamiliar with. That’s a tricky model to deliver, but they’ve managed to combine both collections of music without losing much traction and have kept their bigger picture intact.

The two opening tracks make heavy references to gold; ‘Everything We Touch’ begins with chalice echoes before bursting into a catchy chorus, and ‘Glitter’ is futuristic funk, with the subtleties of Ladyhawke (remember her?).

‘Games For Girls’ (a collaboration with Norwegian producer Lindstrom) triggers a reminder of, or perhaps gives a nod to, some of Annie’s best work. It stands out on the record by its sound; the electronic blips and brashness are a stretch from the common shyness on the rest of the album.

There are details of an unforgiveable kiss on ‘Peppermint’, and a yearning for the lingering taste once more, “Don’t say it’s over… I still feel your kisses burn with peppermint”. There’s a beautiful, gentle glow that is disclosed throughout by the 23-year old pair, with love, and its complexities, an obvious theme.

One of the earliest singles, ‘Julian’ is also one of the highlights. It describes helping a boy escape across enemy lines to safety, by night, and mending his heart in the process. That’s a big risk for love. It’s a shame the B-side ‘Fool Of Me’, featuring man-of-the-moment Chet Faker didn’t make the cut even as a bonus track as it is as strong as the albums weakest tracks.

‘Wilder Than The Wind’ is as close as we get to a ballad. It begins with the crackles of a vinyl being played and goes on to ache like a restless wind. The newest single ‘Nothing But A Heartbeat’ is driven by the chorus where the vocals swirl over, creating a hypnotic feel.

Bonus tracks ‘Love Is The Loneliest Place’ is a swaying shimmer with a whiff of gusto, followed by ‘Electrify’, driven by guitars and a just-don’t-care attitude. Neither sound out of place. There’s never a prominent key change or big note in any song where one could expect a peak; there’s deliberate process to have a continuous weave of tempo and strain without breaking out like most pop songs do. With that thread of connection throughout most of the album there’s a richness which points to pretty much any track potentially being released as a single.

Lucid Dreaming isn’t free of clichés, but it’s certainly rich in content and undoubtedly plays off its dreamy styling with ease. The task will be whether Say Lou Lou can continue to capture and release an inoffensive brand of electro-pop and nu-disco or if they are game enough to extend outside their comfort zone. Nevertheless, their first long player is a delightful and absorbing affair.

The album has been released through the twins’ own record label Á Deux and is available through iTunes.

Rating: ★★★★

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