Guest Writer Track Review: Ilona Mahieu: In My Bones

‘It ensures that the band’s clear flare for poetics and theatrics is ever-imprinted in our minds.’

Intro to Ilona Mahieu
Originally beginning as a solo project with singer-songwriter IIona playing to venues and pubs across the south of England, following the start of university and joining forces with four other like-minded musicians the band was formed. Presenting their debut track ‘Maslow’ in 2019, Ilona Mahieu (pronounced ‘i-low-nah my-ooh/may-ooh’) instantly proved that their music is the type to garner a response and stir the emotions from within. However, while their follow up this this – April 2020’s ‘Criminal’ – packed a real punch, ‘In My Bones’ perfectly highlights their poetically progressive sound.

Track Review by Harriet Heywood:
Flitting through both indie and emo tendencies, ‘In My Bones’ works its way through a cinematic expression of regret, compassion and heartbreak while shining a light on the fallout of a relationship. Doing so in a way that ensures the band’s clear flare for poetics and theatrics is ever-imprinted in our minds, every lyric – such as the phrase ‘I’m the monster in your eyes’ brings real depth of understanding to the version of events we can hear unfolding. Equally, allowing the heavily syncopated backbeat to blend the myriad of emotional shards, the portrayal of feelings here are almost as clear cut as the vocals themselves.

Slicing through the single like a knife through butter, Ilona’s vocals hit every note, flutter and expression with expert precision. It is a wonderful showcase and in trading the warmth offered in previous tracks such as ‘Maslow’, for something far colder, direct and authentic, it really does highlight their versatility. Shining this spotlight on sincerity and honesty through the track, where the tempo slows, every nook and cranny of past or present pain and emotion is beautifully drawn out, filling every note with a potent mix of raw emotion. Likewise, in creeping through the initial tenderness in a way that delivers continuously brooding musicality, when the single springboards to bring the calm crashing down it really hits you.

Overwhelming in sound, on reaching the latter parts of the track, we are boneshakingly greeted by a combination of crushing drums and explosive textures. Completely impressive, the atmosphere is electrifying in a way only matched by the most unexpected of electric guitar solos. Taking centre stage, and demanding our attention, we can’t help but give it the high level attention the single deserves. As contrasting as it is beautiful, it’s a truly stunning transformation and with both atmospherics and dynamics of the track given their moment to shine, this much more direct emotional journey grabs hold of you, makes you listen and makes you follow along.

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Listen to IIona Mahieu on: Spotify

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