Ilias – Somewhere in Time (review)

Ilias – Somewhere in Time (review)

Ethereal ear candy from Australia

Somewhere in Time is the debut full-length from Australian multi-instrumentalist Ilias. Seven years in the making, the album is full of lushly-arranged tracks.  His whispered delivery, coupled with wordless background vocals and several backward guitar loops, add to the dreaminess of the album.  Despite recording most everything himself, the album comes off as surprisingly organic.

Most of the songs here are slow to midtempo, perfect for that late night drive, when you’re trying to make sense of it all.  The use of minor chords gives off a sense of longing, as if there is no clear answer to any of this.  Some of the songs are so quiet, they’re almost not there, as in the disc’s opener “Never Utter the Word Never.”

“Loving You,” the album’s first single, cascades in a blanket of jangly chords that ebb and flow as the music washes over you.  It’s also got a great chorus.

This is definitely music intended to set a mood.  A prime example is “September Memory” – it begins with a repetitive guitar phrase, then builds with light percussion.  Then, the tempo slows with contemplative guitar and more wordless vocals.  It is a track completely devoid of lyrics, yet it still manages to convey a sense of regret that no words could ever express.

Another standout is the vibrato-laden “Lonely,” one of the heavier tracks on the album, propelled by a meaty percussion loop.  Although Ilias plays just about every note on the record, his primary instrument is electric guitar, and the instrumental “Only Once” shows off his expressive style of fretwork.

In this mp3 era, where sound quality is often disregarded, it’s refreshing to hear such a warm, inviting album, full of nuances and open air.  It really sounds fantastic in a pair of headphones.  Here’s hoping that Ilias will follow this one up soon.  –Tony Peters