Encountering the work of Dahlia Sleeps has something of an act of surrender. It is in the very first seconds of the Overflow’s leading track Divided that the duo, consisting of writer-producer Luke Hester and singer-writer Lucy Hill, lays the lush electronic groundwork for what will define the overwhelming experience of their full-length debut. “We didn’t hold ourselves back in terms we did”, Lucy remarks in our video chat about the record, adding that they “tried to honour each song with the style and the sounds that were right for the song rather than tie ourselves down to a certain genre”. Determination that has payed out.

“Each of these songs really leans into the different styles, even if we felt it was something we hadn’t really tackled before. But I guess quite a liberating point in the process was understanding that anything we made, no matter what genre we felt it fit in to, always ended up sounding like us in some way.” (Luke Hester)

A Wholesome Experience

That the sonic scenery of Overflow is rooted in waters as deep as a human heart can go, is something front singer Lucy emphasises more than once: “the heart of all of our music is that kind of emotion and seriousness of emotion”, she remarks. Born out of the torments of mental illness, Overflow dives deep into spaces of despair and frustration, quite in a London Grammar or Daughter-like melancholic design, yet not without stretching wings out into the sky. Hope radiates at the end of the horizon, that is the indestructible truth of this record. 

“Overflow encompasses all of the wonderful experiences that I’ve written about, hope and joy and love, to all of the dark stuff. It feels like it captures it all really nicely.” (Lucy)

Luke Hester and Lucy Hill (photo by Tom Johnson)

On a whole, the sound of Dahlia Sleeps is hard to pin down, as it arises from poles that couldn’t be more different. While Lucy, owing her poetic desire as a writer to acts like Florence & the Machine,  James BlakeThe National or Cat Power, but also poets like Audrey Lorde and Kate Tempest, Luke comes from the ambient, electronic side of music, digesting producers such as Autechre and Apparat. To call that mixture the best of both worlds wouldn’t even be taking it too far. Overflow is the journey of the painful things in life “and these are all the things that you learn along the way”. And there is sure a lot to be learned.

“Triumph is like the perfect word for me. I think the record takes you on that whole journey. There’s quite a lot of self-compassion and trust in myself as well and gratitude for the people around me and for my own strength I suppose.”(Lucy)

Every Monday the treasure hunt squad from the NBHAP staff is bringing an exciting new artist to your attention along with a 30-track-strong Introducing… playlist over on Spotify, as we add ten strong songs by fresh acts on top of it. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a good spin.

Aside from a rich selection of Dahlia Sleeps‘ creations, this week’s picks include brand new music from artists like Violet Skies, WILDES, Johanna Amelie, Kate Bollinger and more. Come and hit the play button.