Alternative music reviews

July 24, 2005

This Is Now by Iodo

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Playing this lo-fi indie record with electronic drum machines and Radiohead influenced blips and beeps is undoubtedly a jagged experience. Not your typical rock record, ‘This Is Now’ jumps from Pavement scratchy guitar tones and Joy Division bass lines to Aphex Twin drum n’ bass beats as demonstrated by ‘Stainless Steel Mouse’ which their obvious affection for left-field artists. Lincoln lads Kip, Dappy, George and Phillip came together in 2003 and formed Iodo, contrasting poppy sixties melodies with cold, post-punk atmosphere. It somehow works, with some songs more successful than others; ‘First Semester’ fits a rapid-paced drum beat over a slow, simplistic melodic structure which sounds uneven and difficult to appreciate. More successful in execution is ‘By A River’ which attempts Sigur Ros ambience, the guitar tone and chord pattern very similar to The Passenger’s ‘Miss Sarajevo’. It does distract from lack of originality, but overcomes such hindrance from its charm and excellent textures.

The whole album has low key production, is unpretentious and slender. Iodo ‘s website describes vocalist Kip as “a man with no musical training who was fired from a previous band for lack of singing ability”. Either an honest account or tongue-in-cheek and after listening to Kip’s singing voice it’s difficult to tell since the vocals are distorted and sang in monotone without much variation. Yet, the vocals suit the music much like Ian Curtis from Joy Division or Kraftwork before them. Not exactly karaoke singing material, but plenty of interesting ideas and experimentation to raise my interest. ‘The Beauty Of Violence’ is another highlight, taking the Aphex Twin template of discordant beats and samples, twisting all kinds of effects into an impressive sprawling outcome. The instrumental coda is especially off the chart in term of sonic sound abuse.

Which brings up the point of non-coherence, switching from dirge acoustic ramblings (‘My Regression’) to keyboard driven catchy tunes (‘A Lesson In Camouflage’) to calming ambience (‘By A River’) within the same album. On the flipside, it shows a band unafraid to try their hand at different styles, the upbeat songs are more listenable and enjoyable than the pensive slow dirges. ‘This Is Now’ showcases a band with an esteemed set of influences (Radiohead, Pavement, Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin, Joy Division), and moulding them into their own identity. Flawed in places yet the positive moments make for a worthwhile and eventually rewarding creation.

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Review by Nick Collings

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