Phildel Returns With Their Stunning New Album WAVE YOUR FLAGS Out Today

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Phildel Returns With Their Stunning New Album WAVE YOUR FLAGS Out Today

With over 100 million streams on Spotify, Phildel returns with her stunning new album, Wave Your Flags - the long-awaited follow up to her acclaimed 2013 debut The Disappearance of the Girl.

Wave Your Flags is a story of fracture and self-repair - a strong, sparse album of powerful songs re-enacting cycles of loss and renewal. It's a work about the importance of speaking up and finding your way in the world - regardless of whether or not you are believed.

It was one of the music industry's stranger stories: a young girl who'd grown up in a household where music was banned, her burgeoning interest confined to stolen moments in her school practice room piano and a single dance CD stashed in her desk. Phildel Ng lived for the bulk of her childhood under the rule of an abusive, strict Islamist stepfather, from whom she only escaped in a separation that lost her the rest of her family too. From the experience came her 2013 album, The Disappearance Of The Girl, a dark and breathtakingly intimate suite of songs exploring the gothic fantasies that sustained her through an unhappy time.

At the time of her debut, Phildel was trying to bring the man who had abused her to justice: she took her story to the police, but there was no prosecution - her mother and sister closed ranks, and though the case remains open, there wasn't enough evidence to make an arrest. She had to make the devastating decision to cut herself off from her family entirely. Phildel now lives in Brighton with her partner and twin boys.

'Wave Your Flags' took three years to complete: "I wait till life events reach boiling point," she says. And there were several of those. When she failed to get a conviction for her stepfather, she became emotionally overwhelmed by the experience and, afraid for her own safety, checked herself into hospital. The haunting The Great Wave with its spectral vocoder voicing, was written about that night, when she had briefly imagined turning herself into the waters of the Thames instead. The beautiful Oh Love was a companion piece, about the support she felt from her partner Chris.

Eighteen months after breaking contact with her family, Phildel went on a process of grieving for the mother she had lost. From the experience came one of the album's most tender songs, Lamb, where her signature minimalism is applied exquisitely to an unaccompanied choir.

"It is my song to my inner child," says Phildel. "It's saying, no one was there for you then, but I am here for you now, keeping myself safe from destructive relationships."

A sense of strength and psychological decluttering permeates the arrangements in Wave Your Flags. Songs are clustered together according to their feelings - brightness versus darkness, organic versus electronic. "Lyrically, the imaginative figures are more peripheral," she says. "There is less explicit gothicness going on. I was no longer overcoming adversity in the figure of this really dark person." But the archetypal images are there still, particularly with the presence of the ocean in Wild Sea, Great Waveand Floods. The album's bloodiest track, Glide Dog, is also possibly its most fun: a winsome, sexy cabaret-horror in which murderous impulses are dramatised with shark teeth and copious amounts of gore. Phildel wrote it with various past problematic relationships in mind: "When I go into really intense hatred mode, I know that it's almost a little bit funny."

And don't miss the album's closing track Glorious, a hair-raising farewell to the dark times - an anthem of independence, with a choir of Phildels unfolding over a bed of simple synths, which for Phildel, is the conclusion of her struggle with the past:

"No matter what has happened to me, I don't need anyone to say that they witnessed what I went through - I am actually enough of a witness on my own," she says. "Sometimes it is beyond our power to have legal justice happen, and somehow we need to be able to resolve that within ourselves. For me, I had done everything within my power to gain justice. Now going forward, I'm okay."

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