Singer-songwriter Izzi Dunn follows her uplifting Cries & Smiles album with a thrilling new acoustic EP, Visions.
Four tracks, the record’s stripped-back production places her voice at the forefront, an instrument she’s as comfortable with as her familiar cello.
Having worked with a who’s who in modern pop and soul including Bobby Womack, Damon Albarn, Mark Ronson, Jay Electronica, Cody ChesNutt and even the late great George Harrison. Izzi is one of the most respected Cellists in the world. So about Visions, her new EP.
Devils Apprentice, the opener, is sultry and filmic, a modern blues song with hints of menace and macabre undertones.
Deeply moving and casually beguiling, it doesn’t explode into life as much as it burns slow. The soft, scathing put-down: The devil ain’t got nothin’ on you/ You got no soul to sell.
Picture Of You, a touching cover of the easy-going Mr Hudson song, features a deft, understated string arrangement, subtly framing the song. It Wasn’t Love is a sublime love-not-love song, its roots in jazz, Izzi drawing a clear line to separate lust and love; Visions, the stirring closing track co-written with German/French artist Patrice - and a version of which appeared on his album in 2010 - is underpinned by subtle strings and a delicate, breathy vocal.
Where the upbeat Cries & Smiles was informed by the buoyancy of vintage soul and quality pop music, these new recordings adopt an altogether more sober and earnest tone.
The undressed production spotlights the aspects music often wants to gloss over: the grit of the voice, the rough edges, the small touches, the raw nerves. Essentially, these are the things that set artists apart from each other. A touch more sullen, but never dour, Visions is resplendent with sincerity and warmth.