Video: Lia Ices “Hymn”

Lia Ices shares a dreamy, bucolic video for ‘Hymn‘, the first single from her new album, ‘Family Album‘, a collection of psychedelic-tinged Americana, inspired by her move west and becoming a mother.

Ices was pregnant with her first child when she started writing, ‘Family Album’, living with her husband, a wine-maker, on Moon Mountain in Sonoma, California. She credits the beauty of her surroundings in the heart of North California’s wine-making country and impending motherhood as providing the inspiration for her latest writing. Every day she’d walk from her house to her studio through a rose garden with an orchard at its centre, to sit at her piano and work on new material – you’d have to agree that’s not a bad commute.

The album was recorded with late producer, Chet ‘JR’ White, and, poignantly, it marks the last album he worked on. Ices says, “experiencing JR’s creative genius so intimately is a gift I will always cherish and I’m so grateful my songs were touched by his magic. This album means something different to me now that the person I made it with is gone — it is a symbolic reminder that music is eternal, he lives forever in this album.”

Ices and White recorded ‘Family Album‘ all over California: three studios in LA, one in Stinson Beach, and one in San Francisco. “There’s a clarity to the album,” Ices says of the production, “you can hear what I’m saying, you can hear what the instruments are doing. But I really think that because the production supports the ethos you can dive in even deeper.”

As well as showcasing Ices’ considerable talent as a singer and songwriter, ‘Family Album‘, highlights what a loss White is to music production and this track, ‘Hymn‘, shows his understated approach, and his deft and subtle touches to full effect. Minimalist but precise drumming is matched with tight and percussive bass guitar, providing the foundation for the song. Understated guitars and delicately subdued strings sit just behind the piano in the mix, and all working together to provide a richly textured backdrop for Ices’ gentle, ethereal vocals.

The seductively retro-feeling video was shot on super 8 film by director, Conor Hagen, over the course of nine months as he accompanied Ices and her band at shows up and down California and the pacific northwest before the pandemic closed down everything. The golden, sunlit settings and laid back vibe provide the perfect escapism for those locked in to what can feel like an endless dark, wintry gloom. California dreaming? Oh yes… please, please yes!

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Alan Ainsworth

Lia Ices vocal range is used to full effect on “Hymn”, and not a note missed or out of place. The backing is well balanced with well placed atmospheric use of strings and slide guitar. Thank you for a good listen, I let it play through three times without getting bored. At least an 8 out of 10.