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Surrogate Emotions Of The Silverscreen

Surrogate Emotions Of The Silverscreen
(New Granada)

Isobella released their previous album A 24 Syllable Haiku on the consistent shoegaze/dreampop label Clairecords and this newest effort from the duo still completely fits into that category with gauzy atmospherics created by keyboardist/vocalist Laura Poinsette and guitarist Brad Richardson (who also does electronic programming for the group). Compared to the first album, the overall sound of the group really hasn't change much at all, which is something that will either excite or frustrate you depending on what you're looking for.

I mentioned the Projekt label in my review of the last album for the group, and I have to say that although Isobella doesn't create music that's quite as dour as what finds a home on that label, the nine tracks on this release would definitely appeal to fans of music on that label. They've carved out a sound for themselves that with dreamy sonics that mainly work with the guitars of Richardson and the vocals of Poinsette accenting and complimenting one another while everything else goes on around those two elements.

While they're no doubt good at what they do, my biggest problem with the group is that they simply do very slight variations of the same track over and over again. I've listened to Surrogate Emotions Of The Silverscreen a good batch of times now, but with each track running just over five minutes and keeping almost the same pace and progressions (softer beginnings, slow builds with increasingly dense washes of guitars and vocals), it's hard for me to pick any particular track as something that stands out. Instead, the album just sort of washes together in one big swath of reverbed guitars and ethereal vocals that I can't really understand. I suppose that approach has worked for groups before, but they did so by changing up things slightly and keeping you guessing, whereas Isobella has almost a paint-by-numbers formula. It's pretty, but pretty fluffy as well.

Rating: 5.75