Lia Ices is another singer-songwriter who creates music that is somehow both intricate and sparse with pristine vocals. Imagine a lovechild between Glasser and Zola Jesus, kind of.
In that way her second album, “Grown Unknown,” doesn’t cover any new ground. I’ve always said when it comes to these sorts of musical conundrums, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
\Regardless, the album excels. Ices has a vocal elasticity that wraps itself around an eclectic arrangement of sounds. The snaps and slow-burning organ of “Little Marriage” are complemented by occasional music box interruptions. “Bag of Wind” is lovely and forlorn, with stop-start piano chords and minor guitar distortion. Meanwhile, “Ice Wine” waltzes along on strings befitting an Oscar-nominated drama about some royal family.
Though all those sounds can seem alienating to the average listener, perhaps the best quality of this album comes from Ices’ voice. It is warm and flexible. The songs are somehow sparse enough to allow her room to shine.
Unlike Glasser, whose voice is pretty, and Zola Jesus, whose voice is haunting, Lia Ices has the kind of voice that invites you into her living room. It’s something like catching up with an old friend and hearing how much she’s grown.
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