The choice of Sillion as a title for his fourth album was one Johnny Flynn reached through a convergence of unlikely forces – of friendship, politics, poetry but it's a word too that captures much of the album's color and mood – its measure of the times. Much of Sillion was done while Flynn was starring in Martin McDonagh's play Hangmen. "I was playing a psychopath," he explains, "so there's probably some of that darkness in the lyrics, and a celebration that you can explore the baseness of human nature."
This darkness rises up particularly on the track "In the Deepest," which grew out of a film score commission and which Flynn describes as being about "a sense of foreboding...it has such a sense of maleficent drama to it." One of the album's earliest songs is "Jefferson's Torch," when Flynn found himself "trying to write something political." For all of Sillion's political grounding, it is an album of great intimacy too. The opening track, "Raising the Dead," tells of Flynn getting to know his new-born daughter. And "Heart Sunk" allowed Flynn to try out a Voice-o-Graph – the recording booth popular in the 1940s which gave people two flat minutes to make a record." He also found inspiration in Jez Butterworth's play The River.
This is, by some measure, an unusual album. But it is run through with great love and great passion for nature and humor and mankind, for all the silly and base and wonderful things we do. As Flynn put it, describing that same word, Sillion, "it's about the sacredness of man's endeavour to connect with the earth while in separation from the earth."