There’s no discernible pattern to Helena Deland’s latest release. On the third and fourth volumes of From The Series of Songs “Altogether Unaccompanied”, the Montréal-based artist has amassed a collection of memories in song form, more like a box of old photos or unsent letters than a traditional EP.
“The songs are to be considered as their own little things,” she says about her unconventional release structure. “They are part of something larger, yes, but they live on their own.” As a listener, however, there is an undeniable cohesion to Vol. III and IV, and to the previous iterations of the project: each song is nostalgic, intimate, and indelible.
The tracks range from tender folk, to synth-infused pop, to 80s-inspired alternative. Deland describes these changing tonalities as the “atmosphere” of each song, and it fits. “Two Queries” is a thick, warm fog in its haunting harmony and stripped-down guitar. “Claudion”, a colourful dance track, feels like a summer day.
Her songs are memories; beacons of particular moments in time that extend to encompass a deeply relatable sense of melancholy. “A Stone is a Stone” is particularly cinematic in its build, like the climactic scene of a period romance.
References abound, but the sound is all her own. Musical and literary influences weave through with ease, underscored by her dynamic vocals and clever lyricism. Deland’s constant journaling has allowed her songwriting to mature organically. “You leave all the people before they know it,” she sings on “Rise,” and you feel it.
“I’m learning to be really patient,” she says, “I can’t really force writing. When I’m ready to write a song the words and melody are usually there.”