Tuesday 4 September 2012

Iori's Eyes - Double Soul

Album review by KevW

It's hardy a deceptive move from Iori's Eyes that they mention themselves in the same breath as jj, James Blake, Beach House and Cocorosie, they do whip up similarly nonchalant beats to jj and Blake and they do master the part organic, part digital dreampop that Beach House and their cronies have created in recent years. However, if you really want to get an accurate written idea of where their sound lies, you'd be better off skipping back a few years and throwing about names like Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky. This Italian duo do feel very modern, but it's the cream of British trip-hop that's the biggest and most direct influence on their choppy beats and vocals, and the production, like that scene, owes a debt to the the amalgamation of electro and hip-hop artists that preceded them.

That said, 'Double Soul' is no retread and Iori's Eyes haven't taken any short cuts or easy recreations. This is an elegant and smart album, partly due to the intoxicating vocals of Sofia and partly down to some wonderfully atmospheric and accomplished writing. Compare them to who you like, Iori's Eyes are still the real deal and 'Double Soul' is an album of depth, beauty and one that becomes more engaging with repeat plays. Like much trip-hop (or however you wish to classify these sounds) it works best at night. The album cover is hardly a technicolour party-piece and neither is the music. The spoken word opener 'Wake Up Friend (P.vo)' is a curveball, seemingly about the loss of a loved one, with a cracked voice wearily pleading "wake up friend... but you never did". It's a touching tribute whether real or fictional.

Most of the rest doesn't wander far from its blueprint of dubby beats and bass, minor key piano lines and velvety smooth vocals that occasionally give way to a more brittle and fractured human touch. 'Bubblegum' could be Massive Attack at their peak and 'Something Comin' Over Me' verges on a pop crossover that suggests they have the ability to change direction should they wish. It's when they stick to the more experimental, darker side of things that 'Double Soul' really works, with the nocturnal sounding 'In Love With Your Worst Side', 'Why Here She Is?' and the trippy 'The Merging' being notable standouts, and 'They Used To Call It Love' providing a final upbeat florish before the laid-back finale of 'D.Y.S.W.R.T.W.' They may not have reinvented the wheel, but this Milan-based pair have come up with an album that could well breathe new life into a well-worn genre.

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