Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the sexy world of rock and roll, the Instagram antics and the shock tactics. But then it’s also worth remembering that the same man signed both Guns N’ Roses and Enya, and Enya was his most successful act.
Now, I’m not saying that Alanna Eileen is Enya, but her latest release Knowledge will give you the pause for thought, amongst all the noise, that you didn’t even know you needed.
Knowledge melds together the dusty, country groundings of Alann Eileen with more haunting soundscapes, and even touches of the gothic.
A native of Perth, Eileen is given to rambling. Having launched her career in Melbourne’s live scene and released her debut EP in 2015, the last couple of years have seen her touring and recording in Cairns, New Zealand and and UK.
Knowledge is result of time spent in New Zealand with acclaimed producer Ben Edwards (Marlon Williams, Julia Jacklin).
At first glance, Knowledge has all the hallmarks of the singer-songwriter; finger picking and acoustic guitar, gentle harmonies and a country-tinged ambience. But when did that become a bad thing, when did ‘singer-songwriter’ become a dirty hyphenated word? Frankly, when every man and his dog picked up a guitar and decided they were the next John Lennon.
But to continue in a frank vein; being able to write a song doesn’t mean that you wrote a good one. Eileen however, writes a good one.
The track doesn’t shy away from those classic elements of the acoustic guitar and a soul stretching, sliding backdrop, which gently underpins Eileen’s pure tones. Unexpected trips in the melody and a flowing composition strays from the predictable journey of an acoustic track.
Knowledge bridges the gap between the familiar and the contemporary. Caught between the song you think already know and the reality that Eileen is speaking about is something entirely different.
It’s old world meets new, as she somehow finds a way to export the tired idea of the singer-songwriter into an alternative scene.
Someone once said that music was about selling emotion, and perhaps this is where Alanna Eileen comes up trumps. Knowledge isn’t about to soundtrack your break up, have you reaching for the tissues or a spiritual breakthrough.
In the same way that Enya gave everyone a break from the hairspray and hedonism, Knowledge is a little breathing space in the clamour of cool. Stripping back to melody and meaning, Alanna Eileen manages to cut through the bullshit.
Knowledge is heartfelt but it isn’t hard out; it’s a break you’ve been waiting for.