Ilona Mahieu – Stiletto (2021)

Initially meant to be a solo project for vocalist Ilona Pointeau, Ilona Mahieu soon turned into a quartet once Pointeau reached university. Recruiting some musician friends, the foursome was able to “flesh out” some of the older solo songs using a guitar, bass and drums. Influenced by various genres, the UK-based group has a rather unique alternative rock meets melodic metal sound. Gaining a reputation for intimate lyrics over powerful melodies, Ilona Mahieu has featured on BBC Introducing, FV Music Blog and Listen To Discover (to name but a few). The latest addition to their critically acclaimed discography is the single ‘Stiletto’.

“This song is about that voice in your head telling you to give up and go home… The lyrics centre around the metaphor of the Queen of Hearts and the Court Jester mirroring one another or a Queen fallen from grace. I always really liked the imagery behind playing cards and Alice In Wonderland, as well as the idea of dressing up in heels and pretending to be someone you’re not just to impress someone who isn’t even paying attention. This was the initial inspiration behind the song…” – Ilona Pointeau on ‘Stiletto’

Recorded with producer Ryan Wood at AJA Studios in Shere, ‘Stiletto’ is as powerful and dynamic as previous singles ‘In My Bones’ and ‘Criminal’. Combining influences of pop-punk, alternative rock and melodic metal, ‘Stiletto’ is a spiral of bittersweet lyricism amidst energetic instrumentation. What I find most intriguing is the superb layering of prominent guitars, pounding drums and forceful vocals as individual constructs but still working as a cohesive whole.

As if building a personality from the ground up, ‘Stiletto’ begins with simplistic vocals; however, it does not retain an acoustic quality for long as the guitars swell into a rock-influenced crescendo evoking a cheekiness or attitude in the track. Once the melody “gets into full swing”, one is subjected to a swirl of sound cascading down like a waterfall of alternative rock. Yet, it is Pointeau’s soul-stirring vocals that both chill your spine and get your heart pumping.

Reminiscent of Amy Lee and Lzzy Hale, Pointeau elegantly traverses the whirlpool of sound triggered by Jack Williams’s guitar, Mark Fifield’s bass and Emma Taylor’s drums. Weaving an eclectic tapestry of anxiety, fear, isolation and hopeful empowerment, the group showcase their natural talent to carry one along a dynamic musical journey without being too overwhelming. Exquisite and impassioned, Ilona Mahieu is breaking boundaries with their poetic lyricism and engrossing hard rock style.

For more from Ilona Mahieu check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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