Lia Ices Virgin Mobile Mod Club, Toronto ON, June 19

Lia Ices Virgin Mobile Mod Club, Toronto ON, June 19
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
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Lia Ices decided to reinvent herself following her sophomore LP, trading Grown Unknown's Cat Power inflections and baroque, mournful balladry for a more upbeat electronic sound on 2014's Ices. That change of direction was reflected in a change of collaborators — where Grown Unknown's credits included Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who contributed backing vocals on album standout "Daphne," on Ices the singer enlisted Clams Casino (A$AP Rocky, Lil B, Mac Miller) to assist on production duties.
 
Like that shift in sound, Ices' showcase at NXNE suggested that the talented singer is still a bit of a work in progress as an artist. "Electric Arc" was as much of a highlight live as it on Ices, and earlier songs such as Grown Unknown's title track and Necima's "You Will" slotted into the setlist surprisingly well alongside the newer material, but Ices occasionally seemed to struggle to connect with the audience. While the singer's ethereal voice is unquestionably a unique and bewitching instrument, capable of moments of ethereal, magnetic beauty, her music far too often faded politely into the background.