It’s taken Knife Girl (Lili Aslo – perhaps it should be ASBO?) quite a while to fashion a debut full length album – she’s been around for the best part of a decade since she was a child and does at least have five EPs under her sheath by way of previous guises (and two as Knife Girl) even though she’s been nominated as ‘Newcomer of the Year’ and ‘Breakthrough Artist’ just this year. But on the strength of this track it’s been well worth the wait.
This is her first music of 2022, ‘The Good Times Are Coming Your Way,’ and is a precursor to the album, ‘Uniform,’ which is scheduled to drop on 23rd September. She describes it as a more “thought out” song writing process compared to previous Knife Girl releases, and a “mature summation” of her sound up to this point.
Titles like this one engender anticipation of a big noise; you wouldn’t expect the Good Times to arrive in an electric car, would you? And it is big.
The opening brass (or synth-brass, it’s hard to tell) alone could herald the arrival of the ‘Lili Aslo Big Band’ while the bass/guitar line is so pervasive it could liquidise gall stones and probably registered six or seven on the Richter Scale in Japan, where they will be worried.
She’s been described as ‘genre defying,’ and you can say that again, even if she’s trying to put that label to bed. The best I can offer is – imagine Janis Joplin meets Talking Heads meets Amy Winehouse and you’re part way there. The strength and consistency of her vocal has Joplin stencilled right through it and her pace is unrelenting from beginning to end; every single second of its almost five minutes. And then it has a gospel-like quality at times, to boot.
You could write a thesis on why she’s in the wrong era. She should have been playing this at Woodstock or Monterrey Pop.
And on top of all that she pulls out one hell of a tune while lyrically she perfectly evokes the self-flagellation of Denmark’s Gurli Octavia, in a song written when she was struggling with mental health issues.
“I can still pick up these pieces of my life/I’m not a bad person/Not bad at all/I’ve just made a few mistakes/Who are you to judge me/I said, who are you to judge me.”
I was going to insert a caveat into this unrelenting praise, namely that as melodic as it is, it doesn’t quite achieve that orgasmic killer hook that’s always just around the corner but which never quite arrives, just like the good times. But that would be splitting hairs at a sub-atomic level. The first time you hear it, it will rivet you. Three or four spins later and you won’t want to listen to anything else all week.
‘The Good Times Are Coming Your Way’ is out now. ‘Uniform’ arrives on the 23rd September 2022. Both on the Soliti label.
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Photo by Emilia Pennanen.