The calm and the storm: in celebration of innocence, New York sextet’s search for solace results in songs of experience.
It’s been a long run for IZZ and they must be lauded for perseverance – the process paying off slowly, over the course of two decades, but surely, and leading here, to a musical offering which is more than a simple milestone on their journey. Whereas the ensemble’s previous album dealt with momentary aspects of eternity, the follow-up to "Everlasting Instant" focuses on something momentous, if elusive, although it’s difficult to grasp the root of the record’s titular leitmotif that’s running through all three vocal-filled pieces on “Don’t Panic”…
So, strange as this may seem, a clue to the songs’ secret can be found in “Six String Theory”: a brief instrumental number whose weave will tie acoustic strum to space and time and remove the sense of dread set in the nigh-on-nineteen minutes epic “42” – a two-drummer-driven multi-part rush-cum-stroll through emotional landscape. Escapism doesn’t feel obvious in the pulsating crosshairs of John Galgano’s bass and his brother Tom’s organ until Paul Bremner’s guitar opens a portal into pastoral panorama which should see Anmarie Byrnes and Laura Meade seize the day with rapture. This is how the sextet embraces the heavy, wordless vertex behind “Moment Of Inertia” where anxious funk complements a classical piano-splashed cerebral assault on Crimson-colored, quality-controlled chaos of static, yet ecstatic, nature, reflecting on the album’s cryptic expanse that’s stricken with cosmic synthesizers.
Still, there’s exultant sway to the title track’s angular riffs and rounded harmonies which simultaneously create tranquility and tension, especially when voices get laid out in a scintillating polyphony for folk and prog to meld and mutually enrich each other. As a result, the listener would find delight in the fragile, albeit robust, “Age Of Stars” – knocking on the ethereal gates of delirium before electronica kicks in, and the entire sound edifice is close to the verge of collapse. This anticipation of disaster and acceptance of reality are the album’s defining characteristics, and “Don’t Panic” should become a mantra and a rule nowadays, with IZZ’s record its jubilant soundtrack.