Besnard Lakes, Frankie Rose & the Outs, Lia Ices, A Lull | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Besnard Lakes, Frankie Rose & the Outs, Lia Ices, A Lull Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended The List (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., Jan. 13, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $15
On her second album, Grown Unknown (due January 25 on Jagjaguwar), Brooklyn singer Lia Ices balances the ethereal with the muscular, shaping elegant pop songs that both billow and throb. Her breathy quiver, wordless coos, and elongated ahs connect her to the unfortunate tradition of overwrought post-Sarah McLachlan indie pop, but she resuscitates those worn-out mannerisms by using them as emotional punctuation rather than empty ornamentation. She writes strong songs with rigorous episodic structures and an undercurrent of folky melancholy. "Daphne," for instance, opens with simple acoustic guitar figures, elegant strings, and a gossamer vocal melody that sounds as much like Joan Baez as it does Feist; as the tune unfolds it grows in power and density, with lush harmony vocals from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, martial piano lines, and propulsive drums arriving in rapid succession. I'm reserving final judgment until I see Ices live, but the album impresses the hell out of me. This show is part of Tomorrow Never Knows; see page 47. The Besnard Lakes headline; Frankie Rose & the Outs, Lia Ices, and A Lull open. Ices also plays a free in-store set at 3 PM at Reckless Records, 1532 N. Milwaukee. 18+.
—Peter Margasak



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