Berlin-based singer songwriter Ian Late describes his music as “timeless pop”. There’s a nostalgic feel to his work, although the nine tracks that make up his forthcoming album, Choices, are also contemporary, relevant and relatable, with a musicality to the arrangements that’s delightfully engaging, too.

Opening the album, “All That I Am”, which was released as a single on 21 February, brings a lilting melody to a song of conscience and responsibility for the world around us. Like rock? Late rips it up a notch with “Magic”, singing of the challenge of life in a metropolis:

“Big city life
Sucks me dry.
Why don’t we get away
Find a place we belong to?”

This is an album of variety and contrast. There are traces of funk here with a laid-back dance energy in “One By One”, blending into an almost country feel in “Dream” and the delightfully percussive, soft-pop ballad “Cold Heart”. As with many debut albums, Late uses the space it affords to showcase his range and influences, all held together with his own effortlessly appealing vocals.

There’s meaning behind the music too. “All Things Must End” is the note from a friend that we all need to receive:

“Life’s a gift, treat it well.
Take care of others and of yourself
You’ve got it all…
What are you just waiting for?
Nothing’s going to be for sure
Because all things must end.”

Hold on until the end of the track for a blissfully arranged instrumental, showing that even an independent musician like Late benefits from collaboration with long-time band-mates.

Exploring vulnerability in life’s experiences, “Grow” tells of fear of failure through introspective lyrics set to a rock-pop rhythm. Glimpses of guitar magic close the track.

Experience of love and life is never far away, so “Work It Out” debates the difficulties of on-off relationships, with the heartfelt cry to work it out, for you, for me”. Building from an electro-guitar intro to full-on rock-band crescendo, Late reveals emotional vocal delivery, developing the track to anthemic proportions worthy of any festival stage.

Moving from the personal to the societal, “Creatures” may speak of global loss through greed, or something closer to home. Clever songwriting combines with cool pop styling – with just a hint of psychedelia – to close the album with a poignant statement.

Scheduled for release on May 4th, Choices was produced on a farm far away from the city and arose from songwriting sessions with Late’s band, who he credits as an important part of his musical development. They are:

Markus Abendroth (guitar), Peter Thomas (drums), and Ben Kinder (bass) with guest appearances from Arpen (keys/piano), Lorraine Buzea (cello), Rolf Langhans (keys), Andy Edner (keys), and Minni and Liv Summer (backing vocals).

Pre-order your copy of Choices here, and look out for Ian Late as a series of hand picked shows when Choices drops. For more details, keep an eye on:

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