Sydney-based indie pop artist Iluka first hit the airwaves with the bouncy ‘Paper Doll’, with her squeaky vocals sounding not unlike Lanie Lane. This was followed up by the smoother ‘12th of July’, which gave just a hint of the wider range of tones of which her voice was capable. Her new EP Blue My Soul goes much further in showcasing the full extent of her singing.
Iluka took a curious route in the development of her latest release, abandoning the busy, materialistic focus of our everyday world. Instead, she drew inspiration from far flung places including India, a Buddhist monastery and the empty silence of a desert in the USA. It was as though she cleared the air to get closer to physicality, nature and a purer form of emotion. True to the EP and track titles, the results see a move to a more soulful vibe. ‘Blue Jean Baby’ keeps a firm hold of the fast slapping beat of ‘Paper Doll’. It is a tale of two voices. In a sort of Jekyll and Hyde manoeuvre, Iluka drops her pitch, slipping easily from a little girl tone to a deeper, sultrier sound. ‘Visions of Cody’ adopts a more languorous mood, drawing out the words, with more shifts in the shading of her voice. In ‘Blue My Soul’ she mixes a tone approaching the fragility of Gossling with the fiery, emotional build-up of Melody Pool. Her soulful side comes out strongly in ‘The Fools’ with Iluka showing she is capable of Janis Joplin-like surges of power. The combination of thick, syrupy and floating vocals, plus the spoken word backdrop make closer ‘In the Heat’ her most atmospheric track.