Tuesday 17 December 2013

Izzy Lindqwister - Moon Beam Cream

Album review by soul1@thesoundofconfusion.com

Here at The Sound Of Confusion we tend to cover music that isn't being rammed down your throat by the mainstream media. This isn't totally by design, in fact it's more a question of our respective tastes not fitting that demographic. However, being a music publication we always start each year with a list of new bands and artists that we think will be worth watching in the future. Some of these quickly bear fruits and reward us with great records in a matter of months or even weeks. Some can take a year or so, and some even longer, but most get there in the end. Paris-based Swede Izzy Lindqwister made this year's list, thanks in part to the 'Pyjama Party' EP which showed a rare and incredibly impressive diversity. From alt-pop to the reggae-infused 'Ready & Steady' and, best of all, the classic soul-pop perfection of 'SoLo'. What her debut solo album would sound like (she's been a member of bands in the past and guested on other people's records, perhaps Cornershop most notably) given this diversity was difficult to predict.

Would she continue to master a variety of genres or pick something more cohesive? After all, no matter how good the songs, if they're too varied it may be too much for a full-length, leaving fans of various styles skipping through to the songs that suit them best and ignoring the rest, offering a somewhat fractured record. If she could master the level of quality we'd heard before then this wouldn't be as much of a problem; a diverse album crammed with absolute gems would do the trick, although this would be a very big ask indeed. We were given our first taste of things to come with the single 'Ez T/Cosmosonic Hipshaker' in the summer. The former still held something of a reggae vibe and still sounded classic, whereas 'Cosmosonic Hipshaker' ventured closer to disco-soul with a space-age feel to it. Now, having settled into the album 'Moon Beam Cream', the best way to describe the sound of this collection of songs is to imagine Janelle Monae minus the hip-hop leaning. 'Moon Beam Cream' is a cosmic soul-pop record; one that walks its own path, keeps Izzy's individuality and works as a whole. That fractured approach we maybe anticipated is nowhere to be seen, this is a complete and consistent journey in terms of quality, and the songs gel despite one or two bringing that diversity that drew us to her in the first place.

From a personal point of view, my dream of an album full of songs in the style of 'SoLo' is just that: a dream. Nothing from that EP is on the album, and overall it's a selection of songs that are perhaps a little too "pop" for me to get overwhelmingly excited about, but this is merely personal preference. It's very hard to fault what Izzy Lindqwister has done here, there is no filler and songs such as 'Angry Bird' blend classic '60s soul and girl group sounds with more modern electro-pop quite wonderfully. The lovely 'Getaway Ground' is once again timeless pop and a definite highlight. 'Don't Go' is a ballsy number suggesting that you really wouldn't want to mess with Ms. Lindqwister. 'Digging For Love' and 'Beta Waves' show a softer side and the guitar led, gospel-speckled astro-disco of 'Like A Heavy Stone' sums itself up (and probably the album) with the line "in this game there are no rules"  to a retro space-age groove; stand-out 'Diplomatic Behaviour' does much the same and is brilliantly put together. Overall this cosmic blend of soul, blues, psych and pop is individual, inventive and impressive. As we've said about many releases of late, these songs will straddle the worlds of commercial pop and alternative music, and will most probably be welcomed by fans of both. They're certainly welcomed by us.

Izzy Lindqwister's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch her live:

Jan 24 The MacBeth, London, United Kingdom

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