Greek avant-pop artist Lia Hide has made a name for herself across Europe for her unique approach to experimental blending dark, electronic production with her soaring vocals. The new album ‘The Missing Fourth Guest’ released via Conch Town Records showcases some of her finest work to date with a series of jazz infused electronic-pop soundscapes which really push boundaries and offer a challenging yet rewarding listen.
The album’s opener ‘Birthdays’ offers a muted, melancholic and ominous yet musically beautiful intro to the album. Built around layers of subtle electronics and piano, Lia’s whispery, subtly processed vocal enters gently as layers of bass, guitar gradually builds around her and dappled synths and strings dance from side to side. Instantly affecting and hypnotic, by the time the drums enter, you find yourself already in a dreamy haze that is set to remain throughout the rest of the album.
Drifting straight into the recent spoken word single ‘Uterus Will’, Lia’s feel for layers of beautifully placed, impeccably cohesive and effortlessly emotive instrumentation is reinforced with a Portishead-esque mood surrounded by layers of soaring synths, strings and e-bow guitar lines. As the trumpet solo enters, it comes a slight surprise as Lia’s jazz influence becomes apparent.
This Jazz influence is carried on into ‘Niobe’, a theatrical display of Lia’s ability to tell stories and lock together intricate arpeggiated melodies. Followed by the dark, quirky heavily electronic and experimentally layered ‘Row, Row, Row’, the album’s musical width becomes apparent. Despite the continuing atmospheric, hazy darkness that covers all the tracks, the range of influences and musical styles, from piano led tracks which verge on ballads to bass heavy electronic tunes which serve to showcase the FKA Twigs-esque side to Lia’s material.
Elsewhere on the album, ‘Cloud’ see’s Lia pick up the pace with an up tempo drum beat under some beautiful modulated bass and guitar riffs capturing a striking 80s soundscape with elements of The Cure and Joy Devision. The album’s stand out ‘Dinner’ showcases Lia’s soaring vocals at their most hunting and poignant, soaked in reverb and layered with some excellent placed vocal harmonies over a soundscape of piano, crunchy electronic beats and growling electronics. The tracks building quality, mix of electronics and live instrumentation and effortless melancholic impact makes it the standout from the album for me.
Closing with ‘Wynnona’ a slowing building track with a huge, explosive climax brings the album to a close, finishing by showcasing all the impact and experimental musicality which makes Lia special.
This album is an exploration of sound, a truly unique collection of tracks which breaks the mould and shows just what a talented, thoughtful and interesting artist Lia Hide is. From the poetic lyricism, to the soaring vocals, to the dreamy, multifaceted soundscapes, it’s a work of art. This is not an easy listen or an album which is going to gain commercial success but that’s not its purpose and Lia is better than that – it’s a complex collection of tracks that require you to sit down and give it your full attention, even after 50 listens you’ll still be picking out small details that you didn’t hear the first 49 times. An artist full of ideas who is truly realising her limitless potential.