Nilüfer Yanya Solidifies Her Indie Rock Reign With 'PAINLESS'
Photo: Molly Daniel
On PAINLESS, it feels like London singer and guitarist Nilüfer Yanya took some time to meet herself and consequently birth her sophomore album, officially solidifying her indie rock reign.
Soft vocals met with brash instrumentation, warm melodies layered over cold strums; this is an album that does not shy away from intersecting polarities to create an artistic statement piece. PAINLESS is melancholic, it's alive, it's the lovechild of all that is beautiful and hideous.
In an industry so fast paced, we're often left dizzy with the revolving line of quick singles and projects burning off the fuel of viral fame. There's a specific essence a project matured to full capacity emits, something made with patience and precision. The refined element to PAINLESS is immediately obvious - it's not marketed to the shortened attention spans of those victimized by a rushed world. It's meant to be sipped slowly, like a stew you have no choice but to sit down for.
For a project with a seemingly blissful title, PAINLESS explores all depth of human emotion, touching on the pain of feelings that have yet to be defined. There might not be a word to describe what it feels like to watch the lives of people around you move forward while feeling glued to the ground, but there's certainly a song for it, and it's called "the mystic."
"the dealer" is a standout track, exploring the blurred lines between desperation and longing. Its touch of groove is reminiscent of early UK indie fused with modern alternative, which almost distracts you from the heaviness of its subject matter. But not every track will leave you hungover, with "chase me" gifting us the perspective of being on the receiving end of an unrequited love.
The line "Don't like whenever I'm not in pain" from "midnight sun" invites us to explore the comfort we can build in chaos, and the honey that comes from bleeding. Because ultimately, what a track like "try" confesses to us, is that maybe the suffering that comes with journeying through the human experience can be alchemized into something beautiful once we pay attention to it, feel it all the way through, maybe even play some drums to it. Or perhaps we just tell ourselves that to swallow it down easier.
Whatever conclusion you may draw, Yanya cuts herself open and does most of the feeling for us, even going as far as to wrap it in a painfully ethereal and deliciously raw bow.
Listen to PAINLESS below: