Helsinki-based musician Lili Aslo has been releasing music under various names since 2013, sharing 5 EPs and amassing a loyal fan base for her unorthodox approach to deconstructing genres. His previous collections veered wildly between aesthetics, finding room to explore indie rock, synth-pop, and elements of funk and dance music. These genres all bend to his discretion, merging into a moving rhythmic coherence that allows him to wander musically without restriction or melodic hesitation. Recording now under the direction of knife girlshe seeks to continue to separate broad sections of different musical lineages to uncover a multitude of shared commonalities.
With the forthcoming release of his first LP, Uniform (out September 23 via Soliti/Playground), she finds purpose in a further expansion of her sound, while tackling themes of identity and intense introspection that have lingered in her mind for years. And while pain and doubt are an integral part of the landscape on the album, these songs allowed him to work through those experiences and feelings in a protective setting.
“I started writing this album in 2018, when I lived a year abroad in Japan,” she explains. “Gender roles are really strict there which unlocked a gender dysphoria that I was not aware of before. During this year I became severely depressed which continued after I returned to Finland .”
She continues: “The album feels bittersweet to me. I’ve been living with these songs for years and I’m thrilled to see it all come to fruition, but at the same time I remember a very painful time in my life.“
On the lead single, “The Good Times are Coming Your Way,” she and her backing band add some muscle to the music, diving into propulsive indie rock that wears its heart on its sleeve. The guitars strike and back, sometimes reminiscent of the nervous fretwork of Talking Heads or a less jagged Gang of Four, and his voice is a whirlwind of fierce melodies that soar through the lower atmosphere. There is a message of hope tied to the heart of the song; and while it offers no promise of salvation, the track acts as a conduit from Aslo to its audience – an open hand ready to catch you if you fall.
“I wrote this song when I was really battling my depression,” reveals Aslo. “The lyrics are addressed to the listener but also to myself. I just want everything to be okay, even though I can’t be sure. I am not religious, but often religious expressions are used to wish people good luck, such as “I will pray for you”. It’s a song where the band’s presence really shines through.
Listen to the song below.