Lys Guillorn Takes Flight on ‘Winged Victory,’ After a Decade

It’s been so long since Lys Guillorn put out a full-length album that it was starting to look like she never would.

The Shelton, Conn., singer and songwriter released her self-titled debut LP in 2003, and while she’s a frequent contributor to the local music scene — she hosts concerts and plays with the Grimm Generation, among other pursuits — Guillorn’s own recorded output since then has been sparse: there was a three-song EP in 2006, and a collection of singles and oddities in 2008. Finally she’s back with “Winged Victory” (Little Cowgirl Records), her first proper album in a decade.

Clearly the new release wasn’t a rush job, and it shows in the songs. Guillorn describes her sound as “avant-twang,” which is apt: the 12 tracks on “Winged Victory” are carefully crafted, but never fussy, with elements of folk, country and indie-rock framing her voice. She was a talented singer on “Lys Guillorn,” and she’s grown as a vocalist since then. Guillorn sounds more comfortable behind the microphone now, and her voice has an ethereal quality as it floats through songs that are easily the match of the material on her debut.

She sounds distant and dreamy on “Believe,” a ’60s-style folk-pop song that unfolds from Guillorn’s reverberating vocals and guitar to include glimmers of organ and a spare beat. She sings tight harmonies with herself on the classic-sounding country melody of “How to Cook a Wolf,” and lifts her voice to the top of her range on “Fine Tooth Comb,” a slow, echoing tune with smears of lap-steel guitar sliding through a steady electric guitar riff and dry brushed drums. Guillorn sounds bravely wounded over a bright guitar arpeggio and low moaning strings on “Blindness,” and almost whimsical on a sing-songy melody accompanied by guitar and low, thumping bass on “Coincidence.”

To say that “Winged Victory” is a welcome return undersells just how welcome a return it is. With just one album demonstrating her songwriting prowess, Guillorn seemed in danger of becoming a lost legend of the local scene, at least in terms of recorded work. “Winged Victory” not only confirms her considerable aptitude by essentially doubling her catalog, it also raises the possibility of more to come.

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