My Name Is Safe In Your Mouth
Liela Moss from the Duke Spirit with her debut solo album.
Released via Bella Union, My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth more than lives up to Moss’s promise of fresh, bold adventure. Sonically spare yet sumptuous in its emotions, elemental power and expansive melodies, the record is a richly felt, vividly-realised trip into the interior from the Duke Spirit singer. A serene-to-stormy series of deep dream-pop meditations on devotion and selfhood, creativity and parenthood, it treats unknown territory not as something to fear but as a seed-bed of possibility. That poetic exchange between exteriors and interiors assumes first focus on Memories and Faces, an exploration of devotion where Moss likens herself to an animal, a storm and a river over the spacious backing of a reverberant piano; throughout, every arrangement is impeccably, sensitively judged to give Moss’s lyrics maximum breathing room. Set to images of storms and mountains, the percussive Subequal maintains the intensity for a moody reverie on emotional rescue and resilience, the warm elasticity of Moss’s voice more than a match for its introspective verses and ecstatic, soaring refrain. Multi-tracked voices and mellifluous synths create cushioning backdrops for Into the Flesh, an almost Kate Bush-like lullaby for someone (a child?) or something (a song?) coaxed into being; Moss’s emphasis on the word “softly” speaks quiet volumes about how these songs are nurtured into life. Meanwhile, Above You, Around You meditates on selfhood while all around is in flux. The lush chorales and pillowy synths of Moon and restorative devotional of Hidden Sea provide loving climaxes to an album that marks great leaps forward for one of alt-rock’s most magnetic voices. My Name Is Safe in Your Mouth is a haunting snapshot of an intuitive artist seeking new ways to work without safety nets, a quest spurred forwards by her move to Somerset in 2014.
Exclusive Album Track By Track
Ahead of the release of her debut LP, Liela's given us a little insight into the inspiration and perspiration that's fuelled 'My Name Is Safe In Your Mouth'.
Memories and Faces
'I had the music playing over and over in our studio and I was in there to kind of ‘write’ this song. I suddenly realised I wasn't really paying attention to what I was supposed to do because I was daydreaming about the way my step-mum used to circle her fingers around in her lap when she was thinking. I was also doing this, and it struck me that the memory of her and other people in our lives, leave imprints and the echoes of their idiosyncrasies and little ways of being are always hanging around, sometimes framed by the rooms they once stood in. I scribbled everything down and started mumbling the phrasing until I felt it was kinda flowing. Its become a song about the perfect love that is distilled down into memories, even distorted ones.'
I was analysing a relationship and considering the moments where both sides lose an argument or dominate a situation. I was thinking about equality and moments where that’s not achieved! I then went into nonsense words, just sounds and utterances which I deciphered later as the bit about mountains and shoes. I have no idea where that came from but I was digging its strangeness. Maybe the mountain is Mother Nature, the ultimate dominatrix...
Into The Flesh
Ok this one is all over the place, bear with me. Initially I think the twinkling synth sounds made me feel that this could be a very romantic song, and I love how there is a purity to the crystal - tinkle tone of it all! However, this ended up being a soundbed for me to explore ideas about feelings of distress; that it is far better for humans to allow stress and negative feelings to rise to the surface and ultimately be set free, than staying in the body all tense and restrictive. Let that awful feeling go, stare it right in the face and let it flow out through the skin to the outside world! Haha. Something like that. But then, I was pregnant whilst writing this song so I was fascinated with this absolutely tiny energetic being that was growing as every moment passed, becoming more of a fleshy thing as the music reverberated around my head. I was fascinated and had to align this phenomenon with the words and magical sound of the music.
Above You Around You
Expansive vibes on this track. I felt the music was a gentle gallop...as we built the song up I honestly kept thinking of it like a magic carpet ride taking me over the fields and woods that surround our studio in Somerset. Like a drone’s-eye view over the area. Birds joining, passing over the church. Bells were actually ringing during these sessions (I think the villagers do bell ringing practice on Mondays! We all need to get into that!). I built a narrative using the nature and history of the rural place I was in, moving towards a chorus that carries a simple message; “Above You, Around You, time runs but nothing moves” which is me thinking about a perennial philosophy (be it Yogic, Bhuddist, Zen or simply a basic truth, call it what you like)...that no matter what changes or mutates around you, it is possible that there is an infinite witness inside you that is steady as a rock.
Wild As Fire
I made a new friend a couple of years ago who made me laugh so much I scribbled some words down in the notes bit of my phone “You’ve got everyone laughing you make everything new” by which I meant, he totally re-set any tricky vibe in the room to ‘great’ again. Nice one AT! Then, at a later date I was noting a phrase down about one of my oldest and best friends who may move to the other side of the world. This is kinda for him and his family, the ‘wild’ bit meaning its kinda unbelievable that someone so close could end up so physically far away. Thats fookin wild, man! But distance aint so bad when you all stare up at the same sky at night. I was thinking about that.
Getting Yogic on yo ass again people, don't mock! Ha. Manipura is considered an energy centre in the body, in the area of the diaphragm or navel. Its considered the seat of self esteem. The chorus came first I think, and one word repeated over and over seemed like the right thing to do. L
This was the last track we wrote for the album and it morphed so many times in different directions Im surprised we nailed it down at all. Toby Butler was so patient and determined to make something good out of the many pieces of this puzzle. The opening line, musically and vocally, was the earliest bit we just couldn't let go of, we thought it had a good haunting (but raw) realness. I had two early miscarriages followed by a stillborn before my son came along - this track is a bunch of words and sounds that reflect the constant cycle of renewal and repair that I found myself (and my fella) to be in. Ultimately it was not sad and we feel amazed at some of the things we learned.
More of the above! Sounds awful and sad but it was all ok as life experience goes...The cremated remains of the stillborn were respectfully boxed up and given to me. I was holding the box in the hall thinking “this is the heart of somebody I dont even know”. A little visitor whose spirit made intrepid steps towards humanity but then thought “ooh blimey, Earth seems well stressful! Cheers, but I’ll turn back”! Thats ultimately how I saw the situation.
I stood outside in the middle of an August night and just watched an amazingly bright moon, talked to it. Totally mesmerising silver tone, beautiful moon. Loved it
I sat at the piano and played tons of wrong chords until I stumbled upon this progression. Ian Kellett helped me shape it, playing some guitar and nodding when it was working. It seems a touch simplistic now under scrutiny, but I like it because the words and melody just tumbled out, pure, no agenda. Its me and a view out the window to some trembling Beech trees. Right On!
LP - Limited 180 Gram Clear Vinyl with Download.
- Genre UK & EU
- Released 09/11/18