A debut offering from a club circuit stalwart is still able to raise an eye brow or two. Why? It’s hard to say for sure, but working musicians often get typecast as imitators and not innovators, but that’s where Lyia breaks the mould.
This Is Lyia is a five-song offering that harkens back to the golden age of songwriting, where turn of phrase and sumptuous melodies are still the order of the day. The Klang Valley-based singer-songwriter is clearly schooled in the sounds of 1970s and flexes that intuition from the off with She’s Searching, a tale of self-discovery, driven by crystalline acoustic guitars.
Just when this seems like a an excursion in balladeering, she turns up the wick with the pulsating and rocking Save Me, the Deep Purple leanings of the track highlighted by the organ-guitar sparring. This barnstormer should serve her well in the no-nonsense live circuit.
It’s never easy pushing an all-English album in a multi-racial country like ours, and its easy to see why a track like Dimana Dikau has lodged itself in This Is Lyia. But credit to the tune, it ticks all the boxes of a rock ballad, replete with soaring vocals, violin melodies and a driving beat.
For You finds her in familiar territory again, exploring the jazz pop melodies of GRP-era stylings from the 1980s, which formed the bedrock of smooth jazz in the club scene here.
The music on this debut is well-composed and executed, and Lyia allows a few friends, musicians like guitarists Sharin and Jude Bensing, drummer Jimmy Tan and pianist Ganesh Bala, to carry the tunes through.
This is uncharted waters for Lyia, but her debut provides no indication that she is a recording greenhorn. If this is her at her at her most naive, it’s astonishing to think what a second album could offer.
This Is Lyia