Every now and then we encounter a song so tantalisingly brilliant, that it stops us in dead in our tracks, instantly demanding our full and undivided attention.
One such track is the divine new single from New Zealand-via-Australia singer-songwriter, Alanna Eileen. Entitled ‘Knowledge’, it is incredibly evocative, pure and beautifully haunting folk music. The first thing that hits you is Eileen’s pure-toned and ethereal voice. Delicate but with an understated strength too, it is paired beautifully with finger picking and acoustic guitar, gentle harmonies, fleeting keys and a country-tinged ambience. These elegant, beautiful arrangements are not over complicated, and provide a stunning canvas for Eileen’s stunning vocals to bewitch and beguile. Enchanting and ethereal, this one showcases incredible songwriting prowess and captivating voice.
-- Barry Gruff, 'Knowledge', 2017
Alanna Eileen’s new track is just as beautiful and spacious as the landscape it comes from. This newcomer has a magical, ethereal voice which is completed by her incredible songwriting and the lovely arrangements of her music. Her new song, ‘Knowledge’ recorded at The Sitting Room in Lyttelton, is deceivingly intricate for its sparse sound.
A beautiful example of darkly haunting folk music, ‘Knowledge’ is incredibly evocative. The layered Alpaccian inspired vocal lines seem to match perfectly the temperate landscape of her double island home. This sad love ballad is powerfully simple but with lyrics like “but you could be a part of me, a little too close for comfort” offer an air of hope.
-- Speaker TV, 'Knowledge', 2017
New Zealand-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alanna Eileen makes lush music that draws upon both traditional and contemporary folk. With Eileen’s soft vocals and warm guitar backed by country ambience and modest piano, new single ‘Knowledge’ is a gauzy number that envelops you slowly.
-- Various Small Flames, 'Knowledge', 2017
Instantly it's love, Australian singer-songwriter Alanna Eileen has a rare sort of pure-toned vocal that grabs you the instant you hear it. "Motion" is the track I first heard, the lead track to her second EP In Your Hands (self released last month via Bandcamp) and it's just genuinely gorgeous. Her voice intoxicates as it weaves a pretty tapestry around a twinkling, circling piano melody and soon I am transported back to Sognsvann Lake where I was on Saturday, but this time not running around snow covered paths but lazing amongst an idyllic summer day backdrop dreaming about something far greater than day to day chores of life.
It's a stunning EP, both simplistic and deep and hugely listenable with a set of songs that feel warm and caressing despite the darkness of the intimate subjects. The tracks switch between piano and acoustic guitar throughout, tender tales of melodic bliss with the title tracks exquisite strings and piano an obvious highlight, whilst the hauntingly beautiful vocals of "Blind Side" will chill you to the bone.
"Mahogany" is an almost jaunty folk track and "Love the Ghost" is another that's so incredibly clear and natural that you'll want to savour each note until it melts your heart.
What this rushed, concise review is basically saying is listen below and enter the most beguiling, poetic world you'll hear this week/month/year.
-- Just Music I Like, 'In Your Hands', 2016
The half-dark Melbourne winter feels like an appropriate setting for Motion. You can almost picture the scene as Eileen's vocals cascade gently upon you ... There's a chilling loneliness that haunts Motion, yet ironically enough it's a comforting notion.
-- Happy, 'Motion', 2016
Today Melbourne based singer songwriter Alanna Eileen is sharing her absolutely stunning new single titled 'Love the Ghost'. Featuring some of the most breathtaking vocals we've heard recently, this stripped back folk gem is the first taste of what to expect from Alanna's forthcoming album In Your Hands.
-- Tone Deaf, 'Love the Ghost', 2015
Every now and again you encounter a voice that stops you in your tracks and songs that tug at your heart. You listen to them and instantly you want to tell everyone you know that they have to hear them too.
The first thing that struck me about this Melbourne folk singer was her voice. It’s so gorgeous, ethereal and delicate, almost fragile but with a quiet strength too. I could listen to it all day and not tire of it. It’s paired beautifully with simple instruments like a strumming acoustic guitar and a gentle piano. The instrumentation gives the EP its fullness, but it never threatens to steal focus. That’s a good thing too because the lyrics need to be heard. Alanna has such a gift. Her words are poetic without being flowery. They get to the heart of things and leave such an impression.
I especially loved the longing of “Absence Tonight,” a heartbreaking ode to a soured relationship. “The Mirror and the Mime” is another standout, a song of self-reflection that’s so eloquently realised. “Stranded” is such a tender, poignant way to close this exquisite EP.
Absence is such a special collection of songs. It’s intimate and personal, with lyrics that show Alanna’s heart and draw you in. The songs have such a magical quality to them. They certainly cast a spell on me, because the moment Bandcamp prompted me that maybe I should buy it rather than simply hearing it for free, I coughed up my Paypal details.
-- Sounds of Oz, 'Absence', 2015
Alanna Eileen may just have one of the purest voices you've ever heard.
-- Best Before, 'Absence Tonight', 2015
The music of Alanna Eileen has been the soundtrack to my life recently and like all good detours in romantic obsession I have been suffocated by the beauty being illustrated. This is music designed for those that hurt and ache in order for love to shine some light into their life. I’d go as far to say that this is music shaped by the very disappointment of true love never really knowing how to connect itself to your existence. Within each instrumental passage and melodic hook of these songs there is a yearning for a deep escape and a warm embrace. As an EP it flows together like magic and engulfs your entire environment, there is no escape from the atmosphere or mood of each track. Like a spooky hypnotist, Alanna Eileen weaves in and out of your senses whispering her heartache into your soul and graciously leaving you paralysed by shivers.
-- Heavy and Weird, 'Absence', 2015
A very pure voice ... it's the voice of Alanna Eileen; she's a Melbourne-based singer-songwriter, but originally from Perth, and released a little earlier this year her debut EP ... It's only in the last week I've come across it and have just been spellbound by her voice.
Alanna Eileen is a solo singer songwriter from Melbourne. In this, her debut release, Alanna is already demonstrating great maturity in her sound which is equally matched with her intelligent and soulful lyrics. In most cases the songs are backed with only an acoustic guitar or a piano. This minimalist approach manages to exert great atmosphere and feeling with a strong earthy feel flowing through the EP. On top of this Alanna’s beautiful voice follows the tunes and their feelings perfectly.
-- Tomatrax, 'Absence', 2015
The six tracks on display here on this debut EP show Alanna Eileen‘s intelligent songwriting and grasp of minimalism, over which her hypnotising vocal flourishes.
There is an undeniable Nick Drake influence evident throughout, with all of Eileen’s stories weaved over a guitar stlye reminiscent of the folk legend. The sparse instrumentation used throughout the recording is most impressive as this is not the kind of music that benefits from excessive overdubs.
-- Across the Ocean, 'Absence', 2015
Not long after the curtains closed they reopened onto the solitary figure of Alanna Eileen. Accompanied only by her guitar, the songstress was barely audible as she addressed the crowd, but let her songs do the talking. Her singing voice was both more powerful and more lovely than I expected, and her impeccable guitar picking was the perfect accompaniment. Despite the sparseness of the arrangements, the songs truly felt full which is something that not many similar artists can achieve. Even though she apologised for her nerves getting the better of her, Eileen gave a truly beautiful performance.
As for heading out on a Sunday, I certainly have no regrets.
-- What Sound, 2015
Sweet, sorrowful, pure and poetic are all words that describe this songstress’s musical style. Her haunting vocals and minimalist acoustic guitar are gentle and delicate, taking you on a journey through love, pain and beauty. The result is a charming and angelic folk music that will make you want to close your eyes and get swept along in the breeze that is Alanna Eileen.
-- Ruby's Music Room, 2015
A melancholic but wonderful reminder of what it is to truly feel something important, Alanna Eileen’s Absence is an intensely emotional debut of haunting lucidity and ghostly, affecting beauty.
-- A Lonely Ghost Burning, 'Absence', 2015
Recently, I came across a voice that needed to be heard to be believed. A fragility and haunting grace that you can't imagine unless you hear it. It was the voice of the young and incredibly talented Melbourne-based songwriter, Alanna Eileen. Luckily enough, I was able to be her sound recordist for two unrelated shows and really make sure that her voice, and her light and tip-toeing guitar technique, were cherished by each and every member of the audience.
So rare are voices like Alanna Eileen's that I can't even really give it justice with just my words. Her path to success has been swift and when you listen to what she has to offer, you can see why. The haunting fragility seeps from her physical voice down to her lyrical subject matter and her dark yet mesmerising stories and strums. If you've ever been looking for a complete artist in a solo, singer-songwriter setting, look no further than the gem that is Alanna Eileen.
A Q&A with Melting Pot, 2015