Cathartic, Empathetic, & Emotive: Folk-Pop Twin Duo LULLANAS Shine a Soft, Soothing Light on Debut Album ‘Pretty Lies & Time Machines’

LULLANAS © Luda Ronky
LULLANAS © Luda Ronky
LULLANAS’ softly soothing debut album ‘Pretty Lies & Time Machines’ is a dreamy folk-pop wonderland: A gentle giant that wraps its listeners in blankets of soul-stirring sound, inviting us to destress even as we dwell in our depths.
for fans of The Staves, Tommy Ashby, The Paper Kites
“pretty lies & time machines” – LULLANAS

It acknowledges the hope, the messiness, and all the other emotions in between, and how at night our thoughts are most alive.

Human connection was top of mind for LULLANAS’ Atisha and Nishita Lulla as they went about writing their debut album.

The twin sisters sought to make a record that both came from, and spoke to, the heart; one that channeled deeply vulnerable and very real feelings into a comforting, cathartic musical and emotional journey. How do you capture the complexity – the tension and turmoil, the aches and pains of the human experience, without overwhelming listeners (and yourselves) in the process?

The answer feels almost too simple: By stepping back and taking things one step at a time. Soft, soothing, warm, and wondrous, LULLANAS’ Pretty Lies & Time Machines is a dreamy folk-pop wonderland: A gentle giant that wraps its listeners in blankets of sweet, soul-stirring sound, inviting us to destress even as we dwell in our depths.

Pretty Lies & Time Machines - LULLANAS
Pretty Lies & Time Machines – LULLANAS
Water is frozen on the windows ledge
The one in the kitchen with the spider web
The reflection I see is just a shadow of me at best
When the lights go out, my thoughts get loud
Like a midnight picket protest,
I cannot wrestle them down

So I wait up to see, what it’s all about
It’s all pretty lies and time machines
It’s all bitter truths and flying things
It’s what I let go that still holds on to me
It’s all what you said and what it means

Released June 14, 2024 via Nettwerk Music Group, Pretty Lies & Time Machines is the long-awaited debut studio album from Pennsylvania twin sister duo LULLANAS. Active since 2016, Atisha and Nishita Lulla’s folk-pop music has been a source of light, love, and inspiration to millions of listeners around the world.

“Their style is a mix of Americana warmth, folk eloquence, country storytelling, and unassuming pop ambition… While Nishita loves country and more traditional Nashville songwriting, Atisha finds inspiration in indie folk sounds. Ever since committing to their band, LULLANAS have taken every opportunity they can get to share their music with the world – from performing in a graveyard, to the produce section at Whole Foods, and more,” Atwood Magazine‘s Nina Schaarschmidt wrote in a 2020 track premiere, going on to praise the duo’s intimate, emotionally nuanced performance.

LULLANAS © Luda Ronky
LULLANAS © Luda Ronky

A 2023 Atwood Editor’s Pick, LULLANAS have never wavered in their goal of crafting moving musical dreamscapes.

Working together with co-producer Keith Goodwin (Good Old War), the Lulla sisters have made an eleven-track album that invites all to connect a little deeper – both with ourselves, and with our world.

“This was an album of collaboration! During a time where we were all stuck inside, we pushed ourselves to reach out far and wide, working with songwriters close to home and across the globe,” LULLANAS’ Atisha Lulla tells Atwood Magazine. “Nishita and I had always written with just each other. It was all we ever knew, but what a magical thing came to be from having another mind in the room (virtually). The album is a representation of relationships, holding onto them, grieving them, letting go, appreciating the ones who stay and the ones who leave, and learning more and more about ourselves through everything.”

“Our vision for this record was to create a soothing listening experience,” she explains. “Life itself can be so heavy at times, so we tried to keep the music light but intentional, even when the lyrics weighed on us. We definitely stayed true to the original vision we all had from the beginning, but as the album took shape, we also stepped out of our comfort zone a bit, instrumentation-wise, bringing us even closer to ‘our sound!’”

“We kept ASMR in mind while making our album: Soothing sounds, whispery vocals, full words pronounced. We wanted our listeners to feel like they were in the room with us. The words are heavy, but it doesn’t have to feel that way.”

LULLANAS © Luda Ronky
LULLANAS © Luda Ronky

LULLANAS describe their LP as cathartic, empathetic, and emotive.

“This was our first project where we were able to immerse ourselves in every aspect of the creative process,” they note, comparing its creation process to that of their past singles (and their 2020 EP, Before Everything Got Real). “Starting with our lyrics, with the help of our co-producer (Keith Goodwin), we carefully built the instrumentation around them, adding just enough to compliment the story – or as we sometimes call our songs, ‘conversations we never had.’ We believe this record has truly helped define our music identity. Within the first few seconds of every track, we hope listeners will instantly think, ‘Yup, this is LULLANAS!’”

The album takes its title from the song of the same name; for LULLANAS, the notion of Pretty Lies & Time Machines comes packed with layers of raw, radiant emotion.

“We really felt it summed up the weight and the beautifully complex emotions tied to the people who come in and out of our lives,” they explain. “It acknowledges the hope, the messiness, and all the other emotions in between, and how at night our thoughts are the most alive. When people ask about our album’s theme, our response will undoubtedly be ‘Pretty Lies and Time Machines.’”

The journey from album opener “butterflies in reverse” to closer “wish you well” is one of spiritual enchantment, emotional connection, and musical enlightenment.

Highlights include the breathtaking, aforementioned title track, the breathtakingly cinematic “alright,” and the smoldering, seductive reverie “nearsighted.” British singer/songwriter Tommy Ashby collaborates with LULLANAS on two tracks – the brooding, On Wonder-esque “24/7” and the passionate, intimate meditation “press play” – both of which hit hard and leave a lasting mark on the ears and the heart.

“Being able to work with many artists we admire on the writing and instrumentation front was a great experience,” LULLANAS share. “It was fun to see the musicians on the record take the time to morph into ‘our sound,’ especially because many of them were from the punk rock realm.”

“On the production side of things, being co-producers for the first time, the growth from the start of the record to the finish line is an indescribable feeling. Having our good friend, mentor, and producer Keith Goodwin to guide us, teach us, and have the patience of a fisherman truly took our vision to another level.”

Both sisters have their own favorite lyrics that continue to resonate with them. Atisha cites the lines, “The red flags waving side to side, got too tired so I bleached them white” from “nearsighted” and “let go of what let go of you, like the trees let the leaves do after all the time it took to bloom” from “butterflies in reverse.” Her sister Nishita adds the lines “at the end of the day it’s what you do and not say, my intentions were to bend and not to break, you say I never cared, but I baked you a cake” from “wish you well” and “press play, so I can move on, look at your picture, the feeling’s all gone, color floods into monochrome, and I’m fine alone” from the song “press play.”

LULLANAS © Luda Ronky
LULLANAS © Luda Ronky

LULLANAS’ humanity shines through all of these lyrics, as it does throughout Pretty Lies & Time Machines.

Ultimately, this album’s greatest strength is the raw vulnerability poured into it with tender, loving care. LULLANAS set out to connect on a deeper level, and they have undeniably achieved all that, and a whole lot more – making this debut album a resounding testament not just to their talents as artists and songwriters, but to their empathy and openness as human beings.

In throughly unpacking their own emotions through song, they have delivered to the world a vessel through which we can do the same – and what greater gift is there than music that heals us, uplifts us, inspires us, and enchants us all at once?

“We hope this record keeps people company through whatever they are going through, because that’s what these songs did for us,” LULLANAS share. “Writing these songs was our sanity, our healing, and our fresh start, and we hope others feel the art of letting go while listening to the album.”

“This record helped us overcome our imposter syndrome, which is all too common in the music world. Creating this album was a hard, yet rewarding process and it reassured us that this is what we are meant to do.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside LULLANAS’ Pretty Lies & Time Machines with Atwood Magazine as Atisha and Nishita Lulla take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!

Pretty Lies & Time Machines is out now via Nettwerk Music Group!

— —

:: stream/purchase Pretty Lies & Time Machines here ::
:: connect with LULLANAS here ::
‘Pretty Lies & Time Machines’ – LULLANAS

:: Inside Pretty Lies & Time Machines ::

Pretty Lies & Time Machines - LULLANAS

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butterflies in reverse

We wanted the first single off our record to represent the heart of our whole upcoming debut album. “butterflies in reverse” is a song about letting go. The person who once gave you the good kind of butterflies now embodies the opposite: butterflies in reverse. It’s the internal battle you have with yourself about letting go or holding on and how freeing it is when you finally do.


We had the privilege of collaborating on this with an artist we deeply admire, Scottish singer songwriter Tommy Ashby. His honest voice and ideas kept us company through a thought process that, while universal, can sometimes feel isolating. “24/7” is a thank you song for all the people who are there for you through thick and thin no matter what and how you wish you could be there for them in the same way, but sometimes our bodies and minds just don’t align the way we want them to. It’s an anthem of empathy, even if we all go about it in a different way, we hope the people we care about feel our love just the same.


This song’s theme unexpectedly emerged during a writing session with one of our favorite singer-songwriters, Luca Fogale. His soothing voice and demeanor created an environment where we felt comfortable opening up about a subject I typically keep to myself. It was a week when I truly realized how much my OCD has a hold on my life, affecting not only me, but also the people around me. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, the song sheds light on the reality of the situation. It explores how rituals, routines, and the need for control can be all-consuming, and how falling in love and letting someone into that part of my life completely broke the cycle I had been trapped in for the longest time.


While recording this track, we were thrilled to have most of our album’s instrumentalists join us for some group vocals! Symbolizing the people who stand by your side while making the difficult decision to walk away from a familiar, but unhealthy situation. This song serves as a gentle reminder of how space, time, and being on the outside looking in, can provide you with a fresh lens. Things that were once blurry and confusing become oh so crystal clear from a distance.

out of breath” 

In our creative process, we often visualize music video ideas for every song we write. For “out of breath,” we imagined a conversation unfolding on a treadmill, representing how exhausting it can be trying to get through to someone who isn’t willing to listen. The more you try, the steeper the incline until you finally reach a point of exhaustion.

“pretty lies and time machines”

We used to ask the audience at our shows to vote on the title of this song – The options being “I can’t sleep” and “pretty lies and time machines.” It took us a bit to realize, but there was always a clear favorite. In fact, this title became the name of our entire album! We really felt it summed up the weight and the beautifully complex emotions tied to the people who come in and out of our lives. It acknowledges the hope, the messiness, and all the other emotions in between, and how at night our thoughts are most alive. When people ask about our album’s theme, our response will undoubtedly be “Pretty Lies and Time Machines.”


“Contradiction” was the first song written for our debut album. We had the pleasure of co-writing it with the talented, Katelyn Tarver! Our session began with a discussion about the unsettling stagnant feeling we were all experiencing during the pandemic. We talked about the disconnect between our desires and our actions, how giving too much could ironically leave you with too little, how caring deeply won’t necessarily make someone care back, and how hard work can sometimes still lead to staying in the same place. After sharing all these thoughts, we all came to the realization that maybe we are all just walking and talking contradictions.

“press play”

This song was also co-written with Tommy Ashby, and we are so grateful he lent his lovely voice on this track! “Press play so I can move on.” Sometimes the only remedy for healing is the passing of time. It’s like wanting to rewind, fast forward, or just hit pause for a minute, but life doesn’t wait for you to fully put your heart back together again.

“care enough”

“How is caring too much not enough?” “How can someone still want more?” “Why are we still willing to give it?” All questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis, leading us to the realization that we tend to look past the emotional hide and seek of someone and focus on their wholehearted goodness. We just can’t help ourselves, even if it is to our own detriment. At the end of the day, we all share the universal longing for someone to stay, someone to “care enough.”

“another story”

It’s like being in the same book, but on a different page. The good old tale of the right person at the wrong time. What was once a balanced situation has become one-sided. It’s the harsh reality of overthinking, with the recurring thought that you might not even cross their mind, even though they hold a special place in yours.

“wish you well”

To us, this song always felt like the end credits to the entire album. “Wish you well” represents the moment of complete release, where bitter turns to sweet. The point of acceptance where we truly wish well for the ones we grow apart from!

— —

:: stream/purchase Pretty Lies & Time Machines here ::
:: connect with LULLANAS here ::

— — — —

Pretty Lies & Time Machines - LULLANAS

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