Iona Lane is an artist who has been around for a while, considering that A-levels still need to be sat. 2014 saw the release of a self-titled EP which was a series of well presented covers from the likes of Blair Dunlop and The Hush Sound, putting her firmly in the folk / indie field.
In 2015 came the real début EP "Dry Stones walls", and a massive leap leap forward as six of the seven tracks were self written. There were signs of accompanying musicians to fill out the sound but it was essentially an album of voice and guitar, with backing.
Now 2017 has produced a new EP "Solace" featuring four self-penned songs that inevitably raised the question of where Iona would go with it and the answer is onward and upward. There's a theme holding the songs together, encapsulated by the title. Solace means finding comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness and that would certainly apply to somebody whose life is going to change in the near future. Music is a constant and there is comfort in that.
The opening track, "Amsterdam", was inspired by a school trip to a city which is full of history, not all of which is pleasant. There are those still alive today who can remember when it was not just a place of museums and sex bars where people can enjoy themselves. Amsterdam was, after all, home to Anne Frank and as the song says, pertinently,
"And history fills the air...To know the future you have to know the past"
Even more impressive than the concept is the way this song demonstrates Iona's progress as a musician, whilst showing the real worth of an EP as a device. The second half of the track explodes into a full band backing, something I'm sure she wouldn't have even attempted just a short while ago. There's a growing confidence on display here.
"Sometimes" is the most rock orientated track on the EP and expresses where the writer is at the moment. Life changing events are on the horizon and there are dreams that will hopefully become a reality. Locations will change, there's a career to develop and - maybe - there will be that someone special to share it with.
The songs on this EP have been well chosen and in just four we get to see the range she has. "Fly or Fall" slows the tempo down and brings Iona's voice, which can covers several octaves with ease, to the fore. Again it's a song about trying making sense of the world where nothing makes sense any more.
The final track "I'll Run Without You" is stripped back, just a girl and a guitar, and is both beautiful and touching in it's simplicity. It's a song about relationships with other people, how we can reach out to others but can't let a rebuttal determine how we live ourselves.
"I know how to run without you holding my hand
But I'm bored of singing alone, will you come sing with me?"
Solace is a milestone release for Iona, placing her firmly in that group of independent artists who are going to make a big impression in the years to come. The EP is now available on all the usual platforms, or through the artist's website.
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