Asylum –  Sianna Lyons (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

0008079122_350They say that the largest part of communication is non-verbal, through body language and context. The same can be said about music, if done well, you can convey meaning and emotion through the music itself, talk to the listener in a more primal, basic way, heart to heart, soul to soul with no need for anything as limiting, blunt or direct as mere words. And that is an idea which lies at the heart of Sianna Lyons new collection of songs, Asylum. 

Many of the songs lyrical content use more transient and opaque forms of communication, the private language of idioglossia, disembodied spoken word, of vocals used as an instrument, of wordless forms, of feeling, leaving the combination of the music itself and this secret and emotive expression to work its magic. And if that sounds as if this is all some ambient dreamscape, some fey delicacy it is so much more than that. The starting point is Sianna’s dynamic and impressive vocal range, songs such as Illusions showing the extent of it to perfection.

Where The Godless Pray, a song that predicted the dark times we are now finding ourselves in is the only one to feature universal language but it is bathed in such ethereality that the words shimmer and chime rather than converse and also feature 13 year old daughter Kiera Gonzalez Lyons, now heading out to embrace her own musical career. The title track rounds things off in a soaring crescendo, all dark drama and dynamic interplays.

And of course the vocals only land so impressively because of the music which drives them along, a masterclass in scoring and sitting somewhere between a film sound track and a Celtic odyssey, between ancient voices and future sounds, between space and atmosphere, anticipation and musical weight.

It is a stunning record, one that skirts a number of reference points, Enya, Clannad, Vangelis, the much overlooked Celtus, tipping its hat in reverence to all but maintaining enough distance and originality to be allowed to stand alongside those musical greats rather than merely follow them. Majestic, graceful, powerful, unique, it isn’t often that something this wonderful graces my reviewing desk. Day well and truly made.

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