PREMIERE: L. Flora offer up raw, relatable and powerful neo-soul on new EP, ‘Heavenly’
Brisbane/Meanjin based neo-soul band L. Flora first burst onto our radar around the release of their debut self-titled album back in 2018. Drenched in seductive soul, jazz-inspired instrumentation and glorious vocals with a deeply emotive yearning underpinning the personal lyrics, this album cemented the group as an act to watch. Now, having spent the last few years honing their craft and reinvigorating their unique musicality, L. Flora have returned with another formidable body of work in the form of their new 6-track EP, Heavenly, which we are thrilled to be premiering today.
Opening with ‘Igna’, the very first thing you hear is unhurried, warm piano keys heralding the start of the sonic journey. Frontwoman Millie Khalu‘s husky, confident and developed voice rings out and sets the scene as she opens up about her daily struggles, both in herself and from the world around her. It’s not that same Khalu we first heard back in 2018, and in fact not the same L. Flora either — this time they’re armed with years more life experience and lessons learned, and its this they tap into to offer insight, observation and most importantly, fresh perspective on life itself. With a certain boldness, Khalu guides us through the record as she sings over the flutter of guitars, the unpredictable but controlled drums, the glowing and lively piano, and the exhilarating saxophone, opening up and letting us in.
In an email to Purple Sneakers, Khalu said of the EP’s creation, “‘Heavenly’ was an awesome journey for us as a band to write. After releasing our debut album, we were excited to get back in the studio and refine our sound more.”
“We wanted the sound of this EP to be brighter, cleaner and hella smooth. ‘Heavenly’ pulls inspiration from the every day wonderful highs and lows of all relationships (friendship, family, romantic etc.). Last year was tough for many but 2020 offered us time to settle in and away from the chaos we usually function in. It was awesome to be able to pull together something we are really proud of out of such a plops year.”
You can hear that pride throughout the record. The band sound tight as hell, completely in sync with each other as they bring their respective skills to the table to work in complete harmony, allowing for that sense of connection they have with each other to shine through. And while their self-titled record was indeed an impressive release, there is something about this new and developed L. Flora, their collectively fearlessness to open up and trust themselves to write their best material yet, which has us feeling like this is so much more than just another EP. It’s more than the start of a new chapter or the end of another, it’s L. Flora as we’ve not quite heard them before, now confident enough to write their own script completely. Perfect for rainy days or sunny afternoons, for solo bedroom listening or surrounded by those you love, Heavenly is that, and marks a real moment for a band only just getting started.
To celebrate the release of Heavenly, we’re thrilled to offer up an exclusive first listen before its official release on March 12th, as well as a deeper dive into the record from Khalu as she takes us through track by track. Check it all out below!
We open our EP on Igna. Igna is about ignorance in the world. There were little words for such a big topic and we felt to keep it a short and sweet song. A small beacon of hope.
Next comes ‘Heavenly’. This was the first song we wrote on the EP. This was pure love through song for us. Dedicated to the families we chose. Our homes away from home. Friendship offers such a unique kind of love and we need to always be open to it.
Birds and the Bees
Birds and the Bees is all groove-based. The groove of love, lust and desire. Blinding hunger for that euphoric release.
Following this is our latest single ‘Poison Ivy’. Jealousy is a trait that poisons many of us. It can riddle us with doubt and overload our mind with misconceptions. Poison Ivy sings my personal experience with overcoming and understanding the jealousy that lives within.
Bombafied, inspired by Mariah Carey bangers is a song about welcoming home the highs of love.
We closed the EP on a personal favourite with Proud. Written from the experience of battling nodules, lead singer, Millie Khalu shares the lesson she learnt from holding back her voice and opinion. Proud is a call to arms. It comes from a place of unappreciated self-worth. It is a declaration to never hold yourself back and to harness the strength that lives within.
Heavenly is out March 12th.
Introduction by Emma Jones