Priestess, a debut album from Karachi-based artist YULLOLA, breaks free from earthly realities and transports us into a new transcendental domain. Set in a galactic black hole, the album shows the artist assuming the identity of an extraterrestrial priestess and carving her own dystopian musical niche. For YULLOLA, this critical distance from humankind is not only liberating, but also essential to her broader narrative vision.

Priestess is a witty, satirical take on our flawed contemporary human experience. Through abstract motifs of energy and vibration, YULLOLA’s songs comment on the tangible interactions and everyday exchanges we have with those around us. From the outset, the eleven-track album establishes a clear theme of dissonance and disillusionment that is brought to life with YULLOLA’s reverberating, drawn-out vocals, upbeat dance rhythms, and quiet sonic spells.

In the music video for “BB Plz Don’t Go,” YULLOLA takes on multiple supernatural forms as she frantically searches for a lover who has left her. Her suspended dance movements, a regular feature in her music videos, convey her confused estrangement from reality. A quick succession of crisp lyrical phrases “said and done / you think you’ve won / shed a tear / crystal clear” effectively captures the emotionless, transactional nature of modern relationships.

YULLOLA’s experimental style is brought to the fore midway through the album, with “Crawl Into The Void” and “10:10”. Under a minute long and deliberately slow-paced, both tracks offer a deeper window into her character’s distorted train of thought.

The final songs of the album carry a heightened cynicism and lyrics that often seem tongue-in-cheek, evident from the song titles themselves. One can’t help but pause at YULLOLA’s worldly parallels such as “take it slow / before we feel like the Truman show” and “bleeding horizon / fast like verizon”. We are forced to take a step back, and view our own lives from an outsider perspective, which only makes us question: which perspective seems more genuine? That might be precisely what YULLOLA wants us to ponder.