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Brooklyn-based musician/producer Charlie Nieland may be known best for being part of the dream-pop band Her Vanished Grace, but he is also a collaborative solo artist who has released the 2-song recording Canal and full-length album Under Dark in 2013, as well as his latest endeavor, the 6-track Ice Age. For this record, Nieland (guitars, bass, synths, drums, vocals) is assisted by his Brooklyn and NYC-residing friends Billy Loose (drums), Susan Hwang (accordion), Marcy Hokama (piano), and Ronan Conroy (charango). Ice Age was delivered in the US heatwave of July 19th via Athame Music.
The run of songs on Ice Age segues from stormy to tranquil, sometimes within the same number, as Nieland goes on an exploratory inward journey. His restrained vocals are framed by acoustic guitar chime, reflective piano notes, and subdued drums and given a vivid lift by resonant synths and electric guitar afterburn, especially on album-opener “Ice Age”. This title song twists and turns through the labyrinth, burning with a searching hunger of heightened guitar press and cooling off with the calming presence of falling waterdrop piano notes. Nieland sings in a compelling, but light register that, “…she alone can melt all the ice away.”, finding solace and safety in love at journey’s end.
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