Lia Ices | Reckless Records | In-Stores | Chicago Reader
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When: Thu., Jan. 13, 3 p.m. 2011
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. Ices also opens for Besnard Lakes at Lincoln Hall.
—Peter Margasak

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