Artist / Band / Musician
Other / Melodramatic Popular Song / Lounge
ILYA are Joanna Swan and Nick Pullin.
They are from Bristol and work from their studio in the woodland that surround the Avon Gorge in North Somerset.
ILYA started work on their debut album in 2001 and 'They Died For Beauty' was released on the Virgin Label in 2004 to massive critical acclaim ;
delivering the band's first flagship song 'Bellissimo' (which was, and still is, used in worldwide advertising campaigns by Revlon and Cacharel).
Soleil Soleil from the same album can be heard this year in the Hollywood blockbuster,'Mr Brooks', starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore and William Hurt.
ILYA played live extensively throughout the UK and Europe during this period.
Joanna Swan has a voice of rare and astonishing beauty; somehow combining aspects of Ella Fitzgerald, Dusty Springfield and Nina Simone.
The range and power of this incredible vocal presence is now more in evidence on ILYA's second album, Somerset, where they have largely
eschewed the widescreen epic easy-listening of their debut.
Somerset has a rawness and vibrancy resulting from being recorded mostly live. This is very much in evidence tracks like 'Falling Everywhere', in which California Dreaming style backing vocals are somehow fused with glam klesma. September Rendezvous is a dark 50's jazz classic with injudicious outbursts of prog rock guitar, and Juanita combines swamp-blues with New Orleans jazz.
Other tracks on the album evoke 50's torch songs (with Bowie-esque 70's guitar), skewed psycho-bossas, folk, and, what seems to be, Can jamming with Karen Carpenter.
Read Review extracts for forthcoming album,
"Somerset is the glorious delivery of all those wonderfully exciting promises they made the first time around. It swims in a thick fog of classic sensuality, the songwriting having eventually caught up with Joanna's vintage,ethereal tones. They Died For Beauty's inconsistancies have been ironed out to phonomenal ends.Ilya have fulfilled their own prophecies and then some, meeting their most far-fetched expectations and, thrillingly,going even further. Without exaggeration, this is one of the decade's most devastatingly beautiful albums" 5/5 David Welsh/Music OMH.
"Wonderfully melodic,with intricately woven sounds that seem to bring in all types of different styles." 5/5 WLC
"The album seamlessly mines folk, glam, bossanova and swing, throughout which Joanna Swan's enchanting Billy Mackenzie-like swoon remains intoxicating.An original and highly seductive example of late night listening at it's best" MS/ CMU Newsletter.
"This is a truely remarkable fusion of different sounds" 9/10 Culture Deluxe.
"Falling Everywhere is a delicious chunk of radio-obliterating coffee-table pop that unfolds around the most delightful hook imaginable." The Downloader.
"For pretty much the whole of the summer of 2004,'They Died For Beauty' was never off my player and-having lived with it for a couple of days so far-it looks like 'Somerset' will be repeating the trick this year". Virgin Megastores.
"One can only hope this rather sublime album achieves the recognition it deserves".Virgin.net."Sheer pleasure" DJ Hits.
"With it's mix of chill-out and smouldering intensity, jazz fans, contempory folk fans and maybe even indie fans could easily find themselves captivated by Ilya's exciting mix of sounds and genres". roomthirteen.com.
"Somerset is an amazing listen that really does catch you off-guard with it's ability to be different. Those that seek it out from Universal Digital won't be disappointed". Jack Foley/Navigation.
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