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The Lilas | Out Of The Sky, Into The Sea EP (Free Union)
There is a moment, towards the end of the title track when you know she means business. Having remained vocally quite restrained so far, a calm voice amid the thundering drums and bass you wonder if she can rock. Then she snarls and, boy, can she snarl.
In case you don't know, Lauren Hoffman is back. Having run off to join a dance school she has since picked up her guitar again, enlisted the help of close friends and got back to doing what she does best, making music that rattles you to your core.
Something Better Than This has some haunting backing vocals almost too sweet for the rocky music. Then she snarls again. To back it up she damn near screams. Oh yes, she can rock. Solipsist has a Belly feel and Lauren's voice shimmers. Her vocals were always something else, bewitching, creepy, soothing and calming, often at the same time. Here she's backed by Karmen and the result is a dual-pronged attack that can leave you hypnotised as they twist around you.
Listening to her on the acoustic and gallic acoustic version of the title track you get the full extent of her range and it makes you realise how much you've missed her. Anyone who can turn in two such different performances on the same song shouldn't be doing anything but making music. Here's hoping this is a permanent return, because on this form, the album should be stunning.

Laurence Arnold
March-April 2004