It is safe to say that Erika Bach likes her own creative freedom. She has always played by her own rules, from her days as a member of Melbourne alternatives Hard Candy to recent musical musings as one of transatlantic electronic gothic duo m1nk, making the music that she wanted to make seems more important than fitting into any fad, fashion or scene.
But her music released under the moniker of Lola Demo has always been the most revealing. Doing everything from writing to playing to recording and mixing to making the accompanying videos, the process has to be the truest reflection of who she is as an artist and Stone, her 12th solo album to date, is a gorgeously subdued affair.
And whilst previous albums have seen her wander some fairly raucous and raw-edged alternative rock paths at times, Stone is a much more melancholic album. But melancholia is very different from misery, and here she turns soft and reflective musical moments, sad and soul-searching thoughts into the stuff of true beauty, blending tear-stained poetry with subdued melodrama in songs that seem to hang delicately in the air or gently drift gossamer-like towards their conclusion. Stone talks of a global sadness, one which seems to have been shared by all of us over the last year or so, but the irony of the isolation and separation which we are living through is that we are all faced with the prospect of dealing with that collective sadness alone.
Her music has been described by a better scribe than me as “If Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Joan Jett had one night of chemically induced sexual passion, the next morning’s aftermath would be Lola Demo,” and this does indeed feel like the cold light of day, the emotional come down, the morning after the night before, the sound of someone coming to terms with their deepest feelings as the sun’s first rays find their way through drawn curtains.
Some music feels the need to make an impact, to deal in sonic sucker-punches to make its presence felt. Stone is everything that is the opposite of that. The songs seem to grow from within you the listener, gradually making you feel emotionally off-balanced, awash with feelings that are slightly beyond your comprehension or that you are facing for the first time.
When was the last time an album seduced you? I mean really seduced you, heart and soul? Made you feel vulnerable, ready to question your deepest thoughts, laid your innermost feelings bare? Lola Demo’s songs do all of that and more.