Izzie Walsh - Ideals
Every artist at some point takes stock of their situation and "Ideals" seems to be Izzie Walsh's moment. A 5 track EP is the result, written during and undoubtedly influenced at times by the pandemic, it finds Izzie going back to basics in terms of musicality. The tracks have plenty of room in them and are uncluttered with excessive sounds however don't assume for a moment that you'll know from one track to the next what it will sound like even though for this EP Izzie is using a fairly limited sonic palette with which to create her little masterpieces.
With a title like "Ideals" written at a time when things were far from it the results at times are a glimpse into Izzie's world and how she was thinking.
"San Francisco or Anywhere" opens things with a strikingly high pitched violin sound, matched to some gentle percussion before the song explodes into life.There are many things to enjoy here, the marvelously captured drum sound very forthright throughout in the mix, at one point ticking like time passing by in those periods of Lockdown.The violin that started the track off also appears in a number of guises throughout changing the overall sound repeatedly.
All of this provides provides a perfect backing for Izzie's phrasing style which can soar up or down or move from a whisper to a scream at any time. She also has a habit of repeating words or phrases which seems quite normal as you listen to it but only afterwards when you try to write the lyrics down do you realise quite how unusual it is.
There is a refreshing outlook in her career expectations - no wish for superstardom
"I'm not asking ( asking ) to be famous - I don't even want my name in lights
I'm just dreaming ( just just dreaming ) of a better life ( better life)"
There is talk of travel not just to the San Francisco in the title but also
"Rome, Budapest, Marakesh" and equally important having someone to be with her on these adventures
"Who cares about the money - it's just you and where we're going?
It is as stunningly different and refreshing as anything you will hear all year.
"Blue Collar Coastline" comes with a interesting musicality, initially just percussion and a subdued acoustic guitar before a violin joins in, but that is it in total making this an intriguing and engrossing listen.
If finds Izzie contemplating "the people in my life and all around me"
"Who i've missed, who i've f***ed
Who i'd kiss on the lips
Who i'd travel back in time for to spend it over and over"
It all leads to Izzie's manifesto which slightly changes each time round but the gyst remains the same
"People should love who they want to love
People should walk where they want to walk
People should dance where they want to dance - just love
People should be who they want to be
People should see who they want to see
People should go where they damn well please"
This sees Izzie singing almost classically at times and the results are quite charming. Once again there is stand out percussion and the blending with the strings again are so inventive.
"Elevator Pitch" finds Izzie assessing her life to a definite Americana backing from the guitar through to the big booming drum sound. The reality of 9 to 5 office work has suddenly hit home as she finds herself in a "dead end job"
"Good morning just like every other morning - the same old story
Cos I've got coffee on my breath and I know what's coming next
It's just the routine routine routine that I'm in"
It finds Izzie questioning her day to day existence
"Should I love myself or should I hate myself?"
She is full of questions yet not really finding any answers or at least not acknowledging them
"How can I be myself, I work for someone else than myself?"
The one definite fictional track is "Jimmy" The first thing that hits you is the sound, starting for the opening few lines as just Izzie and an acoustic guitar before a deliciously raw band kick in, all rowdy drums and bass with more of an indie than an Americana guitar sound.
This is the story of the eponymous "Jimmy" who as we will find out is a bit of a "Geezer", a "dodgy dealer" with the emphasis on "dealer", someone a little darker than their initial charming persona seems. Izzie invests a lot of time in turning him into a 3D figure that we might all recognize, with quite a few details of his back story
"Both a lover and a fighter - his Mum gave up on him age 16 - He grew up to be fit as the Butchers dog - Have you seen him recently?"
However pretty soon via the chorus Izzie is issuing a definite warning
"Don't trust his eyes, his smile, his little dirty lies
His wife's from Lanzarote and he's got a tattoo of a line of cocaine
Don't you feel his pain?"
Izzie's role as narrator is never quite explained, however from the vitriol in the opening line of the chorus, you would have to assume that she has at some point been taken in by the very things that she is warning us of.
"Haunted" begins with a prominent organ what initially seems to be a tribute to Queens "I Want To Break Free" before it veers off to provide the key backing on a very interesting track Once more Izzie is reflecting on a Monday morning
"this week felt like a year" however this time it is more personal matters that occupy her mind.
"Your coat still sits in its place but I couldn't bear to move it anyway"
It leads to Izzie pondering on things that might have been and regrets
"I never got the chance to say that you were wanted
Even though we went our separate ways"
Izzie details staring at photographs that she has not been ready to take from their frames. Building to a crescendo as Izzie provides her own backing vocals, over a prominent drum sound.
it ends on a sad note with Izzie repeating the refrain
"A love like that never fades away" over a final almost "haunting" flourish of violin.
It all goes to make a really cohesive EP, that has both a wonderful sound and lots to say in a way that is totally unlike anyone else and is well worth checking out.
Izzie Walsh has just released "Haunted" as her latest single and no doubt will be playing trackes from the EP at the following forthcoming dates.
29th September - Newcastle - The Globe
30th September - Sheffield - Record Junkee
1st October - London - The Grace
2nd October - Hassocks - Proper Cafe
3rd October - Salcombe Live Festival - Devon
14th October - Holmfirth Tavern In the Round Gig
20th November - Roots Fest London
1st December - Grateful Freds / The Atkinson - Southport