Izz - Half Life EP

Kev Rowland

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?

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