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3 stars IZZ is an American group which has traveled well on various prog festivals to manage to refine their musical orientations. Here there is YES, a little TRANSATLANTIC, second half GENESIS and even MANFRED MANN as reference sounds. This ET is supposed to make the link with their next production, so as not to forget them? They offer 4 tracks for 20 minutes of music, and a B side of their guitarist of the same duration. "The Soul Of Music" begins with a classical piano intro leading to a musical land scent of the 70's, mellotron and drums setting the tone for the somewhat mysterious TRANSATLANTIC direction; the bass is also very present until the guitar solo, the end on GENESIS for the more enlightened keyboard, all in less than 5 minutes. "Into the Sun" arrives with a mellow song dominated here by John's ubiquitous bass; then a fruity synth fight here reminds me of good MANFRED MANN, it's energetic, invigorating, it's playful and more pop-rock than prog. "Half Life" title song of this mini EP on a very pop Phil COLLINS intro to catch your ears, a warm voice of Tom and Anmarie which gives pride of place to percusions, an agreed tune limit romantic ballad, title on the loss of someone and its consequences, an even more striking title in this covid year; simplicity and splendor united. "The Wait of it All" live by CalProg covers a track from "AMPERSAND" from 2004, a faster track than the previous ones; Laura's voice adds emotion to it while the second part of the title sees the synths come in and give a very symphonic character here; it is a bit like MAGENTA or MOSTLY AUTUMN at this precise moment; end with a precise and enlightened solo by Paul on guitar. An EP that denotes a bit by offering short titles that move away a little from their universe, although I could not listen to the B side, a transitional EP.
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Posted Monday, August 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars American proggers Izz are back with an EP to tide us over until the next album, which is due out in 2021. I have the digital release, which contains three new songs and a previously unreleased live version of "The Wait of It All," a track originally featured on their 2004 EP, 'Ampersand Volume 1'. However, for those who purchase the vinyl edition, this comes with an additional 20 minute long piece of music, "The Car Crash Suite", which is taken from Paul Bremner's solo album (featuring all members of IZZ). I cannot comment on that as I have not heard it, but the 20 minutes I do have is fine enough. The septet are the same line-up as the wonderful last album, 'Don't Panic', which means they have four singers available and they make full use of these with swapping lead vocals and plenty of harmonies.

The title track was originally written and recorded a few years ago, but on listening to it again a decision was mde to remix it and make it available seeing as how it was lyrically fitting with the current situation. Opener "The Soul Of Music' commences with delicate piano, rippling and swirling before the rest of the band come in, quite Transatlantic in nature with some very Chris Squire-like basslines before the layered vocals take over. "Into The Sun" is far more based on acoustic guitar, with orchestral keyboards and delicate percussion, showing a quite different side of the band. Izz have never been content to fit firmly within any particualr musical form and have often switched things around and that is again very true of this EP. The title cut is firmly centered on the bass and vocals, with gentle keyboards and wailing guitar in the background, the song only really lifting on the bridge. The three songs are very different to each other, yet still full of their trademark harmonies and strong use of arrangements. The live cut shows the band in a more "traditional" fashion, much more in keeping with their normal style, and the result is an EP which is a great addition to their canon, will hopefully gain them some new followers, and also please those who are eagerly awaiting the next album. They continue to operate at a very high level indeed, and for any proghead who has yet to come across them, what are you waiting for?

Report this review (#2494792)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2021 | Review Permalink

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