Lia Kessel aka Lia Ices is a singer-songwriter from Westport, Connecticut and is releasing her third album Ices out on Jagjaguwar this month. Despite the first two albums being released 2008 and 2011, it was 2012 that Lia Ices gained more attention after her song “Love is Won” from her second album Grown Unknown was played over the closing credits in an episode of HBO’s Girls.
The singer has been compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Feist and Cat Power, and this album draws similar comparisons. Opener “Tell Me” is an upbeat track that has a summery, carefree vibe and plenty of tambourines. “Thousand Eyes” is a swaying seductive number whilst “Higher” has the wistful energy of Kate Bush, Kessel sings; “You better keep me close, you gotta let me go” repeating behind each verse.
Echoing the name of the album title, and her artist name, “Love Ices Over” is a surging, more electronic sounding piece. “Electric Arc” sees a building musical interlude between jingle jangle rhythms and synth-y vocals. “Sweet as Ice” brings back more steady, primal rhythms that link together the whole album.
A jangly track, “Creature” pushes forward and Kessel’s ethereal voice draws you in; “And I, I will help you, and I, I will run with them and you know I should”. The following “How We Are” brings back a harder sound, pulsing synths and crackling rhythms mix with laid back guitar melodies creating quite the juxtaposition. Final track “Waves” ebbs and flows to finish, rounding off Ices with a settling track bringing Ices to a close. Living up to her comparisons, Lia Ices voice is soft and enticing with a magical sound, although the album tracks don’t necessarily show off her beautiful voice to it’s full potential.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.