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  • Thomas Hiscock

Review: "Anna" - Ilan Bell

People are… complicated! Damn! Emotions, dreams… regrets… and that’s just on the inside! Throw life in the mix, and now you’ve got relationships, maybe a career, so much more! Swimming along life’s river, we often meet others caught in the current; sometimes we travel together… and sometimes, well, the water just pulls us apart… Is there a ‘right’ way to hold on? Is there a ‘right’ way to let go? Balancing drama and longing with a dash of nostalgia, New York-based crooner, Ilan Bell, courts woe and wonder on new single “Anna.” Easy, breezy--Bell spins a bittersweet tale atop a thoughtful instrumental… So often, when our strongest emotions grip us, we default to cathartic extremes, swinging high and low. But then again, there are times when a comfortable numb feels best, and that is where this budding city superstar finds his groove!

Meditative instrumentals… breathy vocals hinting at folk, pop, and even a lick of Blind Melon’s minimalist grunge… Ilan Bell makes a bold statement with this tender track, showing precocious talent as a singer and songwriter, alike. Longer than your typical pop song, “Anna” carefully unfolds over the course of four minutes, telling a colorful tale of loss and longing. Opening as a full ensemble after two swift bars of introduction–voice, polished synths, whispering strings, and rhythm section all enter; straightforward, the song’s central riff is anchored by crisp snare hits and a steady pocket. Blowing wind into the sails of this otherwise chill track, the eighth-note pulse serves the song well, invigorating Bell’s vocals with persistent percussion. And beneath that pulse, a crisp, 16th-note hi-hat adds yet more depth, lending the tune a ‘swung’ feeling that gives the production some cut and contour. Choices like repetition, rhyme, and motif–all help to construct this memorable tune. Across buoyant verses, mirrored pre-choruses, spacious refrains… Bell echos himself, tagging familiar phrases and vocal dips to create a dreamy roadmap.

A sure-fire ‘up and comer,’ the Big Apple's own Ilan Bell weaves understated tapestries that speak to the very best of modern sensibility and yearning alike. Flowing in an indie vein, Bell’s work has drawn comparisons to sonically-inclined peers likr Phoebe Bridgers, Rex Orange County, even old guard heroes like Tom Petty! While only his sophomore single, impressive offerings like “Anna” set the stage for "American Love," the young-blood’s upcoming debut record! With support pouring in from both grassroots fans and industry veterans, it’s clear that a bright future awaits this young artist. Boasting production from Grammy-accoladed producer, Paul Falcone, "American Love" is sure to help Bell soar sky high!

Written By Thomas Hiscock


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