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Around You Review

by Michael Grant


Durban-born singer songwriter Ian Holmes describes his new music as “unadulterated”, and that may be a bit of an understatement.


His new single Around You, dropping on the 6th of March, is certainly a risqué return from a short musical break. Rather than releasing a more conventional commercial pop record, Holmes has decided to detail the intensity and danger of lust.


This is where the 25 year old is aiming to go next, after a foray into EDM, he’s returning to his acoustic roots with a more stripped back sound. The electronic influence is certainly still there, as are a wealth of other inspirations he’s picked up over his many years in music. Whether it’s a touch of Spanish guitar from his musician father, or the intricate production techniques picked up whilst at university. In terms of technical talent, it’s always been there. But what Holmes really wants to do now is move toward a more candid and open style of song writing.


You can certainly see this on Around You, a ballsy ballad with themes of infidelity and temptation. It’s a marked contrast to the watered down love songs of the modern era, which tend to be vague and squeaky clean. Rather than going down the familiar route of holding hands with an unspecified girl, Holmes specifically illustrates a passionate and somewhat immoral fling. It’s an honesty that’s scarcely been seen in music, or not since Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill. Which is the album where she said a firm fuck you to ex-partners, managers and even her former teen idol self.


“We can’t keep it clean” is not only a line heard in the verse of his new single, but it could also be a sign of things to come. It’s an excellent platform on which to build for an artist who, hopefully, can bring candid and confessional songs back to the mainstream.



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