Review: ISO

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The Pretoria-based band formerly known as Isochronus played some of the big arenas in Germany last year supporting rock musician Marius Mueller-Westernhagen.

Last weekend, under their new name, ISO, the band launched their new release Piece by Piece at Zula Bar on Long Street, as part of the Sowing the Seeds party.  They kicked off with the first single from the album, ‘No Fire’, a soft-tuned radio pop song with an electro underscore. The rest of their songs from their new album seemed to make use of the same ingredients. The set, however, tended towards cheesy when frontman Richard Brokensha squealed “Destiny, stay with me,” from their previous album.  As if the high-pitched pre-pubescent voice and melodramatic body contortions were not enough, a midget with a glittery suit and hat was lifted on to the stage to shake his tiny booty to the sensationalist delight of the audience.

Fortunately, the band’s instrumental mastery was more sophisticated. The emotionally tormented vocals alternated with rock riffs that slid from the controlled to the more violent.  The result was a sculptured butterfly of sound: one in which arduous time and devotion must have gone into making each detail appear delicate and colourful.  Unlike a lot of young bands, ISO manages to pull off full-blown instrumental medleys with an adeptness that links each tune to achieve a round, connected sound.

The band’s ability to come up with beautiful compositions is most definitely intact, the songs of Piece by Piece revealing a new edge thanks to an increased infusion of electro-dance sounds. With their new easy-on-the-lips name and their instrumental intelligence ISO is a band that will be going places. Yesterday Germany, tomorrow the world.

Christine Hogg

ISO launch their album Piece by Piece at Sowing the Seeds at Zula Bar on 1 September 2012.

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