Make a note of the name Ilana J as you could be hearing and enjoying plenty more of the British singer songwriter if her promise driven debut EP is anything to go by. Consisting of six tracks which embrace a sense of adventure and at times even bolder uniqueness, Free Falling From The Ground Up is a highly pleasing introduction to a new highly engaging talent.
Though turning down the opportunity to enter the prestigious London College of Music at thirteen in favour of a more traditional academic education and pursuing a successful healthcare career, it is fair to say that music remained the potent tempting in a craving for a more creative outlet for Birmingham hailing Ilana. It was with an extended visit to the US in 2008 that she decided to devote her life to songwriting and recording, quickly embarking on an intensive musical training on both the guitar and the piano whilst exploring her lyrical side. A chance meeting with Mark Alexander, ex-keyboard player with Meat Loaf led to him becoming her producer and in turn the recording and now release of Ilana’s first collection of songs.
With a title inspired by how she feels now that music is back in her life, Ilana when talking about her music saying ” I am letting the music and the lyrics ‘free fall’ out of me and am growing every day from the ‘ground up’ which is intensely fulfilling on a whole new level“, Free Falling From The Ground Up offers a lively embrace of energy and intimacy, the latter no more evident and powerful than in its opening song. Also the new single, Paper Planes was inspired by the tragic death of Ilana’s younger brother when she was a teenager and is in dedicated to his memory with a message of hope and peace. A chilled breeze cups ears firstly but is swiftly dispersed by the melodic coaxing of keys and the immediate allure of Ilana’s potent voice. There is a feel of Holly Walker to her delivery and indeed the melodic enticing which flows through the growing air and body of the magnetically captivating song, and indeed its equally vibrant successor
Smoke has a swing to its stroll which is irresistibly catchy whilst darker hues provided by bass and the slight melancholic whisper to melodies in its quieter moment , bring a richer breath to the immediately engaging enticement on offer. It is another track which would make a captivating single to rival its predecessor and the outstanding England which comes after. Definitely emerging as the favourite song within the EP, the third song is a jungle of rhythmic festivity and melodic infection with a chorus surely inspired by Bow Wow Wow, Ilana even managing to get a scent of Annabella Lwin in her tenacious tones. Contagiousness flows through the rousing encounter, creating pop in its most boisterous and anthemic form.
There is a small but noticeable shift to a more regular pop based template over the next song, I Believe in Love stepping forward with an emotive sway of keys and glowing harmonies. Something is missing in relation to its predecessors, a distinct element needed to push the track away from a crowded landscape of pop songs yet it easily involves ears and imagination with its flirtatious air as also does the more folkish Sing. An opening union of voice and acoustic guitar which blossoms further as provocative textures and transfixing harmonies emerge, the track drifts over and warms ears and thoughts for a gentle romance of the senses.
Free Falling From The Ground Up is aptly concluded by In the End, another kiss of voice and acoustic enterprise which serenades with its intimate lyrical and melodic croon. It is an alluring end to a fine first meeting with Ilana J and another indication to the variety she has in songwriting and its creative portrayal. The live feel to its performance, which is just as apparent in the other songs especially vocally, gives honesty to the air and charm of the proposals and definitely enhances the whole enjoyment.
Listening to Free Falling From The Ground Up you just know there is plenty more to be discovered within Ilana J and that only adds to the thick promise and pleasure of her debut.
The Free Falling From The Ground Up EP is available from September 14th.
Pete RingMaster 14/09/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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