Understated electronic songcraft from Jamie Isaac here, with contemporary textures building on solid structures (Isaac apparently always grounds his tracks in piano). Both the CD and the vinyl editions of Couch Baby come with a nice little fanzine thrown in, which also contains a download for a mixtape (Loose Grip), which gives a deeper insight into the Isaac vibe.
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I really really enjoyed Jamie Isaac’s earlier two EPs ‘I Will Be Cold Soon’ and ‘Blue Break’ but I’m alarmed at his living space on the cover of this his much anticipated debut album. It’s filthy and there’s a half-eaten chocolate digestive - I’m pleased to see he’s put it on a plate though.
Anyway this chaos is the exact opposite of his music which is so chilled that it’s hard to imagine it was made by an Englishman. Isaac has been for me the James Blake it’s ok for me to like. He generally plays around in the same ball park as ol' wibbler by combining electronics and song but instead of whining his voice is beautifully soothing and he’s not afraid to throw a few jazz moves about. Indeed on ‘Cnt U See’ (these young people!) there’s some really nice trumpet squawks that just seem to appear out of nowhere. The album has a lovely jazzy feel, it was always there in Isaacs music but previously where his music sounded cold and isolated this is warm and welcoming. He toys expertly with production adding unusual sounds into the mix such as the oddball hiccups and the sound of running water on ‘Last Drip’ (actually to the point that I think on repeated listens they are going to become annoying - just like real hiccups) but what I like best about Isaac is his gorgeous jazz influenced piano and soft soulful vocals. To prove it, ‘Beauty’ has just slithered into my ears - an amazing high water mark with a lovely melody and Isaac’s careful voice layered until a sexy slinky sax takes over.
The album is quite similar in tone to the music of his flatmate King Krule but with less bleak anger and instead the sort of sunny day melancholy that sounds like he’s been spinning his Chet Baker and Bill Evans records since last we spoke.. Lovely.
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- Couch Baby by Jamie Isaac
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