I hadn’t heard much of Lia Ices, if anything at all, until I heard “Grown Unknown,” the teaser track off her similarly-titled album. Immediately captivated by the simple combination of Ices’ echoing vocals and sparse instruments, including my favorite – hand claps, I began to wonder: were we getting another Glasser here? It seemed so at the time, but in order to appreciate Lia Ices, we need to set her apart from like-minded musicians. Upon listening to the album in its entirety, I quickly realized she has her own style, leaning heavily on folk and orchestral influences to create full, lush songs. Throw out your expectations and let Grown Unknown enchant you.
On Grown Unknown, Ices relies on the strength of her voice (see: “New Myth”), and I have very few qualms with that (considering her voice is a strength), especially when she’s able to mix in appropriate instruments throughout. If you’re not prepared to listen closely to your music, then you might as well wait for a better time with this album. And I don’t mean that in a bad way – I just think you’ll get bored and fail to notice the intricacies of Ices’ sound.
Ices background is in piano, as she was given one as child, and you can hear the foundation of keys on many songs. My choice parts of Ices’ tunes are those when the keys play in harmony with the strings. Like on “Bag Of Wind,” where piano dominates and the end uses vocal ooh-ahhs alongside the heavy strings, which pop up in more density on the lovely and haunting “Ice Wine.” Tune in at about 1:50 — are we listening to classical or modern pop? Who cares. Grown Unknown effortlessly blends genres together, providing depth to the modest sound.
The more I listen to Grown Unknown, the more mesmerized I become. I suspect the same will happen to you.
Lia Ices – “Daphne” [MP3]