Lia Ices : Grown Unknown
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Lia Ices : Grown Unknown

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For the follow-up to her debut album Necima, Lia Ices fled the borough of Brooklyn to record in a secluded cabin in snowy Vermont.

For the follow-up to her debut album Necima, Lia Ices fled the borough of Brooklyn to record in a secluded cabin in snowy Vermont. It’s a similar rite of passage taken by label-mate Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) when he recorded his breakthrough album For Emma, Forever Ago. Going by the quality of both of these albums, it’s clearly a winning formula. Vernon himself crops up as a guest on Grown Unknown‘s second track Daphne, though he is a minor presence, adding some wafting background vocals to this Baroque folk composition.

 

The minimal instrumentation is sympathetic to the undulating voice of ‘Lia’, as she glides about the stripped-back, spare soundscapes like a transient spirit. There’s something fleeting about her presence and yet her vocal is consistently in the limelight. Some of the more ornate qualities of the compositions could come across as heavy-handed without this sense of space – there’s a lightness to Grown Unknown‘s touch, though it retains a cool, wintry feel.

 

As the album progresses, it becomes a less rigid and studied – the handclaps in the title track trigger a thawing out from the album’s austere restrictions, and it fully blossoms with After Is Always Before and Ice Wine. Having kept a cool distance from the listener, Lilac has a more personal touch, with its refrain of ‘For only you I sing’ against autumnal acoustic guitar.

 

An assured step up from a little-known debut, Grown Unknown is a graceful, gentle way to make your presence known.

 

Best track: After Is Always Before

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Label : Jagjaguwar