For a country with folk music in its DNA, it’s no surprise that America is slowly starting to love Chris Ilett. One song here (‘The Fray’) came within a dismembered limb of appearing on ‘The Walking Dead’. At a time when every musician seems to want to be a folk musician, he certainly seems to be one: of the beanie-hatted variety, rather than the Breton cap tribe. He’s the proverbial funky folkie, but there is the genuine smack of ‘Keeping It Real’ oozing from this his charming new EP, Something Soon Has Got To Give.
The drill-down displays someone who is classically trained; Ilett can sing and play beautifully. ‘Echoes’ features some skilled fretboard tapping, as well as profound lyrical insights. The songs have tones, counter tones and key changes where they need to keep your ears interested, alongside beguiling harmonies and melodies capable of sweeping you off your feet. Although sometimes the synthesised strings, looped backing vocals and blood and thunder guitars can overwhelm the plaintive beauty of the song, the perfectly charming musicality remains throughout. As effective as these reworked, technologically innovative versions are, I’d be curious to hear what they sounded like in their raw, original state.
‘Lullabye’ is the standout track: its serene musicality giving me a moment to stare wistfully out of the window for a while and reflect on themes of lost loves and lessons learnt. And, for that reason alone, I would say Chris Ilett is an interesting talent, trying something new. It’s in his DNA. So, you too should try something new and give him a listen.