A 24 Syllable Haiku
Isobella made some ripples in the proverbial pond with their debut effort Akasha off Clairecords. It featured the fuzzed out guitars and male/female vocal interplay that was reflexively compared to the sound carved out by bands such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. And in fact, the press release for their sophomore effort, A 24 Syllable Haiku, notes just that.
The first apparent difference on their latest release is the new-found emphasis on Laura Poinsette’s vocals. Instead of weaving it betwixt the drone and swirl of their guitars, her voice is made the centerpiece of most of the tracks. While her voice has a quality similar to Medicine’s Beth Thompson, it misses the complement of the male backing vocals (which are almost completely absent) and guitar overlays.
And although the production is more refined and structured, there is a sense of homogeny among the songs. For instance, the beautiful guitar and vocal work in “Sun in Her Eyes” off their first album could reasonably stay ingrained a listener’s head for days. There is no such instant gratification here. However, with repeated listens, the album’s finer points surface. The most mesmerizing moments come in the closing moments of “Illuminous Insect” and “Autopilot,” where the synergism between Poinsette’s swelling voice and the caterwaul of guitars climb somewhere into the stratosphere.
In summary, the A 24 Syllable Haiku is a solid effort but a bit of a disappointment considering their previous work. While it does not have anything close to tracks such as “Yellow” or “Sun in Her Eyes” off their debut album, fans of Isobella and shoegaze-themed rock in general will most probably find this album appealing.