Newcastle based, acoustic/ folk singer-songwriter, Holly Rees has been praised for her “unapologetically down to earth lyricism” and emotive style of guitar playing. These strengths are very much at the heart of her debut EP ‘Ilex’ which uses intelligent lyrics and sounds to capture the spectrum of emotions felt by a young woman finding her way in the world.
“Don’t ever doubt that you’re a work of art” Rees sings on opener ‘Toast’, a love song penned, seemingly, to a secret crush and played in a solo guitar style reminiscent of Eddie Vedder’s ‘Into the Wild’ soundtrack; soft and meaningful guitar providing suitable backing to a quiet, yet strong and purposeful, voice.
‘Better’ and ‘His thermos song’ are more upbeat in both content and sound with Rees singing about personal development and the safety of objects. Still acoustic, melodies are stronger and more instantly catchy than Toast and varying ‘do do do’ hooks becoming reminiscent of acoustic Lemonhead and Candyskin sounds.
Bringing us almost full circle, final track ‘Felt’ offers a, longing, lyric encompassing what almost everyone can relate to ‘I don’t always feel something, but I felt something there’. It’s the strongest vocal delivery on the EP, and also the only live track, suggesting that Rees may well be a great artist who’s recorded work is worth listening to, but also one who’s live performance would be worth seeing. A great debut.