Posted by: hankwillenbrink | December 17, 2008

REVIEW: IamIs – “This Life”

They say on you’re wedding you’re supposed to wear something old and something new.  IamIs’s latest release, This Life features something new and two tracks from Louisville is for Lovers:  “This Life” from the forthcoming Trance Inducer LP, “Frequency of Breath” from Louisville is for Lovers Vol. 6 and “I Adore Thee (And Thy Strange Typewriter)” from Louisville is for Lovers Vol. 7.

“This Life” is a pretty straightforward sounding poppy track, one hand clap away from over-indulgence.  IamIs sidesteps the gratuitus handclap pop route, thankfully, due to Shawna Dellecave’s punky delivery.  Her vocals act with the melody but against the keyboard sound they grate, in the good way.  And, when the tune comes to it’s expected dreamy harmony at the end, you’re pretty glad that Shawna chose the more difficult delivery, because it makes the harmony sound that much more enticing and etheral.

Given the poppyness of “This Life” the noise that starts out “Frequency of Breath” is a distinct change.  The top of “Frequency of Breath” sounds like an older of Montreal song – disjointed rhythms bizarre sounds coalescing into a dirty soul/funk groove without Kevin Barnes’s ambiguously sexual vocals.  The keys take centerstage here, again, but instead of following a certain path as they did in “This Life,” the sounds spiral away and reemerge.  It’s a pretty hypnotic track with a nice dose of cowbell.

If IamIs has a weakness, it’s in relying too much on a particular riff to drive a song forward.  Hypnosis can lead to zen states, but more often it leads to sleep.  To be honest, I’m close to sleep when a minute and a half the same riff and too many moans into “I Adore Thee (And Thy Strange Typewriter)” a “Day in the Life”-type break down leads into a driving psychadelic section.  But, IamIs isn’t 13th Floor Elevators, despite how hard they conjure them.  On this release with a couple old and a new track, it seems that the band is moving towards a poppier sound, one that relies less on the past and more on merging styles and songwriting.  For fans, this release will no doubt whet their appetite for a new album, while also providing casual listeners a chance to get to know the band’s influences and how they’re staring to break away.

IamIs plays Skull Alley with Dark Dark Dark and Pink Houses on Sunday, December 21st

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