Thursday 16 August 2012

Izabo - Life Is On My Side

Album review by KevW

Take an idea and run with it. That notion has brought huge success to musicians for years ('Back In Black', 'Is This It?', Status Quo). Well that's just not good enough for Israeli alternative icons Izabo. With a sound that incorporates indiepop, punk, psychedelia, Middle Eastern music, rock... hell, they even represented Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest for heaven's sake! You can call them what you like, apart from one-trick ponies. They've been mainstays on their home scene for over two decades and, really, it's time the rest of the world caught on. This is music without fear, without limits and with scant regard for genres. Latest album 'Life Is On My Side' is an eclectic melting pot of what you could loosely describe as 'indie' sounds.

Most pop/rock music produced in Europe, Australia and North America somewhat erroneously gets described as 'western' music, leaving the remaining two thirds of the world residing under the rather derogatory term 'world music'. By the sounds of things, Izabo couldn't give two hoots about this pigeonholing. To them music is music, and so 'Life Is On My Side' toys with conventional indiepop on 'Summer Shade', a spattering of garage/surf on 'On My Way' restrained yet grand pop on 'Girls' and 'Showtime', punky powerpop on 'Life Is On My Side' and 'Boys', and echoes of Bowie on 'Baby' and 'On Me'.

There's also experimental rock on the fuzzy 'Fashion Free' (the lines "I'm gonna take this and mix it with this, now do you like my combination?" is their ethos condensed) and 'I Like It' which adds a Middle Eastern flavour, as does the excellent 'Johnny'. The album closes with 'Time', their Eurovision entry. Of course it's far too good to have won, but it combines a catchy as hell melody with all of the genres mentioned above. A dreadfully uncool aspect to their career this foray may have been, but Izabo won't care. They make music, great music at that. The saying goes "Jack of all trades, master of none". Well these guys are Jacks of many trades, and it has to be said, they've mastered pretty well all of them.

Win a copy of 'Life Is On My Side' from SoundsXP

Free download: 'Summer Shade'

Izabo's website

Buy the album

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