Albums, Music, The Revue — January 9, 2018 at 5:05 am

Alanna Eileen – ‘Keepsake’ (EP review)

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The phrase, “put on your headphones”, is often associated with the energy and bass-heavy music found in hip hop, dance, electronic, pop, and occasionally rock music. It also applies to Alanna Eileen‘s music because only with your favorite buds on can you truly appreciate the delicate beauty expressed on her sophomore EP, Keepsake.

The Melbourne-born, New Zealand-based singer-songwriter’s style is akin to the wind-swept, coastal folk heard on the debut albums of Tiny Ruins, Nadia Reid, and even Aldous Harding. Her music, as such, personifies grace and intimacy, enchantment and fantasy, where her soft yet lush vocals mesmerize while her intimate stories stir emotions. This is all evidenced immediately on the stunning and haunting opener “Stay”, which has Eileen recounting a story of long lost love over top a gorgeous arrangement of acoustic and steel guitars.

Lead single “Knowledge” and the introspective “In Time” possess the alluring qualities of Mazzy Star at their most intimate. Eileen’s voice, too, mirrors that of Hope Sandoval’s heavenly tone, and it provides the perfect foil for her tales of a lost soul searching for meaning and one seeking her place in this world. The latter possesses lyrics that will leave one contemplating their own purpose in this world, particularly “before the curtains go”.

Akin to the breathtaking qualities heard on fellow New Zealanders French for Rabbits’ songs, “Elias” provides a slight change of pace. The arrangements are fuller, yet the delivery is still dreamy. Eileen’s songwriting also has a fairy tale element, as she sings about finding peace and discovering hope in another person. The closer, “Legacy”, meanwhile, resembles an Irish folk ballad, which accentuates the song’s mystery and questions about one’s influence. As the song slowly fades into the distance, only one thought lingers – that Eileen has left her own mark, her own legacy, with a record that is simply outstanding and memorable. It is indeed a Keepsake.

Keepsake is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and iTunes/Apple Music.

Eileen commences a mini-tour next week. Destinations include Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Geraldine, and Auckland in New Zealand plus two nights in Sydney, Australia. Dates and information are available here.

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