Album Review: The Only Ion — ‘Roses’

Mission Creek Festival: Black Moth Super Rainbow w/ Makaya McCraven, The Only Ion

Gabe’s — Saturday, April 6 at 9 p.m.

Iowa City’s own The Only Ion recently gave us his newest EP, Roses, in May 2018. It’s such a diverse and articulate album it’s really hard to label as one genre (a few that come to mind are hip hop, soul and a bit of blues), which is a nod to the talent Ion possesses. Throughout the project you’ll hear in-depth lyrics, electronic instrumentation, string pieces, guitar riffs, piano chords — pretty much there is a ton that a listener can pick out.

The five-song project ultimately gives us different elements in each piece, and the common denominator is the soul that Ion brings to the forefront. Each song may hold a different meaning, vibe and instruments, but each possesses a soulful core. Ion is extremely poetic in his lyrics and in the overall structure of his songs, something which is evident from the start of the project.

From the first track, “Grindstone,” to the closer “Roses,” it’s easy to pick out the different influences, techniques and inspirations. Again, it’s hard to pin it down to a single genre, but each element is clearly planned out.

“Grindstone” shows off Ion’s lyrical talent, featuring a great deal of electronic elements in the piece as well. From there, things take a turn into funk with “Fotia.” He gets socially pointed with “W.G.T.M?” and teases vibes of intimacy with “Bacon (Go Down On Your Lover).” The title track closes things out with a soulful, funk-derived sound—a beautiful piece to end on.

This EP is fantastic; the best part was hearing the different ingredients that Ion brought into each piece and to the project as a whole. Make sure to keep an eye on what Ion is up to by following his socials and checking him out in the local scene.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 261.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


World of Bikes presents:


Come talk with our experts about ways to stay on the bike this winter! Find out more at World of Bikes.

Get Started


Muscatine, Iowa


Come to Muscatine for all your Holiday shopping and visit all of our unique and locally owned shops and restaurants!

Visit Muscatine

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.