Sharing some personal experiences, feelings, thoughts through music has a profound effect on the musical style, leaning it towards melancholic. However, that’s not the case here! The Victoria, BC, Canada-based “Alli Bean” has done an amazing job of making a debut album to share the inside voice in one’s head, made by conflicting feelings, in the most lighthearted way to take the burden off your shoulders with the groovy, jazzy rhythms and the bright and powerful vocals to make you dance it all out. “Outside Voice” will be out there in June, and I’m glad to get the opportunity to take a sneak preview.
Learning about a new talented musician and discovering their work out there has always been a joy for me, similar to the thrill of discovering fire for the first time. Hearing “Outside Voice” showed me how Alli Bean is indeed a gifted singer, songwriter, and pianist with a genuine style of music composition that is a fusion between R & B (which conjures up images of Amy Winehouse), jazz, and a splash of rock. This flawless work is the output of Alli’s original work since 2017 and a remote collaboration with Dave Friend (on guitars) and Stewart McLellan (on drums). The debut has seven breathtaking singles, of which no one is like the other, showing Bean’s ability to diversify and out-do herself in each single with a different mood swinging between upbeat, bouncy tunes and slow-beat, sentimental tunes. The hidden gem is that two of the singles are solo piano pieces with killer performances.
The opening track is called “Twenty Questions,” and by the time I finished listening to it, I had question number twenty-one in my mind: how is Alli Bean that unbelievably good? She’s a skilled pianist, indeed! With playful vibes in her playing, her vocals are breathy and powerful, with an amazing ability to embody the lyrics, which she has written perfectly. Another level in the vocal breaks in “When The News Breaks,” is the warmth in them while remaining powerful, as if they sympathise with whoever is relating to the lyrics and come strong to face whoever the lyrics are about through an addictive, upbeat rhythm. “Two Birds” has dreamy vibes in it that make you fly to the horizon. The vocals are soothing and peaceful, personifying the inner conflict expressed in the lyrics: “I don’t wanna be without you, but I gotta find my way alone.” “Peacock Blue” reminded me a touch of Amy Winehouse’s “Valarie.” And it felt good! From the intro until the outro, the quick tempo of the guitar riffs, together with the uplifting drumming and vibrant vocals, makes you unable to resist dancing. Going from having some questions to share to having listed facts in “Another Way,” as the lyrics are getting more relatable and even a little harsh to remind you that “It’s just the same illusion again.” But the groovy, entertaining melodies are here for you to slow down the pace a little. The instrumental tracks I mentioned earlier are “Greif And Gratitude” and “Not My Problem.” They have contrary vibes that somehow complement one other. The solo piano performance, “Greif and Gratitude,” is outstanding! It’s a touching song with a combination of sombre yet hopeful undertones. It left me with a peaceful feeling. “Not My Problem” is more cheery and fun, as if the loss has passed and the griever has blossomed. The piano notes and drum bass felt like they were dancing and bouncing around together, tempting you to bounce along.
To jazz it up a little and enjoy authentic work, listen to the album as soon as it is released. I’m sure it will hit different with all the spring vibes!