Record review: Ilias – Somewhere In Time (2013, LP)

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Sydney-based Algerian/Australian multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer Ilias may have taken ten years to write and six months to record his debut album Somewhere In Time, but when you compose, play, and produce everything yourself, you can afford to go at your own pace. The result is an impressive eleven song collection of jazz-tinged folk and indie pop tunes that is as original as it is refreshing. The white Gretsch guitar on the cover gives a hint at what lies inside; as deft, understated guitar licks combine with Thom Yorke-style vocals and harmonies in a laid-back and effortlessly smooth affair. With opener ‘Never Utter The Word Never’ Ilias sets out his stall as a musician who values melody and feel above showmanship, and on ‘Loving You’ his vocal range is allowed to shine. The ethereal and dreamy pop aesthetic is a strong point throughout, and on riff-heavy mid album tracks ‘This Life’ and ‘September Memory’ Ilias’s guitar playing comes to the fore in hypnotic fashion. A string-shredding solo could take these songs to another level, but would also probably detract from the humble and heartfelt nature of the lyrics, which tend to focus on the heavy subjects of love and loss. The overall feel of this album is one of velvety bar room vibes, complete with a level of polish not often found on independent releases, and these songs would probably best be enjoyed played live in an intimate, inner-city basement venue. Hopefully it won’t take ten years for a follow-up. (Independent)

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