Life lessons by way of polished folk on new EP from London duo lilo.

This is the loss of innocence at its most tuneful.

Photo: Katie Silvester | Words: Grace Marshall

Having charmed us with 2022 debut EP ‘Sleep County’, London-based Hampshire-raised duo lilo (lifelong friends Helen Dixon and Christine Gardner) are back with a new collection. ‘I Don’t Like My Chances on the Outside’ clings onto the duo’s folk sensibility, but glows with the polish of alternative pop. On lead singles “Settled” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, they move away from the rolling hills of their youth and towards the glamour and the anxieties of urban anomie and adulthood .

Sensitive penmanship shifts between discussions of heartbreak and counsel and judgement in friendship and love. Latest single “I Don’t Love You Anymore” employs anthemic hooks, choral harmonies, and glossy sevenths in service of the brutal truths of a break-up. The band say of the track: “I Don’t Love You Anymore is about telling someone who loves you very much that you want to break up with them. It opens with the clocks changing over on New Year’s Eve, as I realised that I knew how I felt, but didn’t want to admit it, even to myself. The song moves through the horrible moment that you say the thing you never thought you would, and into the feeling of relief, as you get it out of your system and wriggle free from your secret”.

The time-honoured topic of love and loss is as safe as a hand-me-down in “Spit Up”, a hooky chorale underpinned by rumbling bass vocals and bitter metaphors: “You shut all the windows / I broke into your family home”. It is a theme that’s re-sewn into the shape of friendship in “Just A Thought” and “Forever My Friend”, equally resilient in their fidelity and affection. Close up, the EP is shimmering and glassy; from a distance, it is a lifeline for identity and friendship through sea-change.