7

-isq: -isq

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
-isq: -isq Type -isq into Google and the legend "Your search— -isq —did not match any documents" appears. Add quotation marks and try again: this time around 6.5 million results appear and in among the links to Information Standards Quarterly and Integrated Systems Queensland up pops the website for London-based quartet -isq. This eponymous debut from the band, led by singer Irene Serra, is full of beautifully crafted original songs, performed with a pleasingly individual style. It can't be long before Google knows exactly where to find -isq.

Serra and the instrumentalists—Richard Sadler, formerly bassist with the Neil Cowley, John Crawford on piano and Chris Nickolls on drums—are exemplary. Nickolls, whose credits include work with saxophonists Tommaso Starace and Andy Sheppard, is a vibrant player who can readily shift from simple, light-touch patterns to heavier, rock-influenced beats. Crawford has worked with percussionist Airto Moreira and saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, and his reputation is growing within Latin and jazz music: he and Sadler move between frontline and rhythm section roles with impunity. Crawford's command of dynamics is impressive; his delicate playing on "Unforgettable You" sets the perfect mood for Serra's regret-filled vocal, while his more percussive approach joins Nickolls' powerhouse drums in driving songs like "Simple Things" or "Etude: A Study In You And Me" forward.

Two aspects of -isq give the band a special edge: Serra's world-weary but captivating vocals; and the interplay between singer and bassist. Serra's voice is graceful and sensual, an occasional added vibrato giving it a hint of the chanteuse. The sound is beautiful but melancholy, a match for her lyrics. The message from many of these songs seems to be that disappointment is the ultimate end to every romance, so it's best to prepare for it from the first kiss. Thankfully, it's not all so downbeat. "Night creeps in. Dirty dirty thoughts of him" she sings on the slinky "This Bird Has Flown," but even here the title reveals a far from happy tale.

Sadler's playing is tight, powerful and positive—and a perfect complement for Serra's vocals. Even when Sadler plays slowly and sparingly, as he does on "Walking Wounded" and "This Bird Has Flown," he's an emphatic presence, heightening Serra's emotional impact. His solo on "TV Face" is a master class in combining strength, groove and melody.

-isq's emphasis on the less joyous elements of love and romance doesn't lead to the world's cheeriest collection of songs, but it does result in some very beautiful and emotionally engaging ones. -isq is a strikingly mature debut; disappointment never felt so good.

Track Listing: Ill Wind; Pictures On My Mind; This Bird has Flown; TV Face; Walking Wounded; Johnny's Fallen; Unforgettable You; Simple Things; Etude: A Study In You And Me; The Loneliest Of Dreams.

Personnel: Irene Serra: vocals; John Crawford: piano; Richard Sadler: double bass; Chris Nickolls: drums.

Title: -isq | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Cheesepeas Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Happy Madness" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Madness
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Avalon
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Tetrawind" CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Stereotomic" CD/LP/Track Review Stereotomic
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Hope" CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.