Llore’s debut EP, Fictional Creature, is a folk endeavor that transports the listener to a quiet fireside in the woods, listening to stories, passed down through generations, that seek to captivate, fascinate and frighten. These four tracks, the work of songwriter Amanda Collins, could haunt the ruins of ancient castles and mansions, long abandoned and now covered in moss.
Fictional Creature opens with “Nowhere,” a brief, gentle introduction that offers heartbreak and longing as the root of a new myth. The next song, “Stay,” is a warmer venture, with a driving plucked banjo.
The closer, “Vasilisa the Wise,” recounts the Russian fairy tale of Vasilisa, a beautiful young woman who is sent into the dark night to find fire by her wicked stepmother. Collins picks up the story as Vasilisa encounters Baba Yaga, a famous, frightful witch who requires her to complete nearly impossible tasks in order to earn the fire, or be killed for her failure.
As Vasilisa works through the tasks, Collins’ voice moves between gentle verses that drive the narrative, bookended by string and horn arrangements that express both fear and hope. The triumphant choruses express the curiosity and strength of Vasilisa, and as she returns home with a skull full of fire gifted by Baba Yaga, Collins’ voice trails off into the void with the reverberations of a piano and violin.
The EP’s four songs are short and sweet, and it leaves the listener yearning for more. Fictional Creature whets an appetite for Collins’ breathy, soaring vocals and careful storytelling.