An often elusive Isaiah Mclaughlin returns with a debut full-length album encapsulating and celebrating an unmistakably unique sound, across a plethora of deeply human emotions and experiences.
Thirteen tracks in total, each one relating to some profound or thought-provoking event. As ever, the artistry of the sound, the haunting vocal repeats and tripped rhythms, cinematic detailing, all plays into the mood and purpose of each track.
Jungle Heat is the opener, reverberating through with ambient sound design and the quickly recognisable tone of Isaiah’s voice; relaying these personal reflections and poetic musings.
Intensity and calm intertwine, chaos and serenity work up the energy of the room, and It’s On Them follows with a similar presence but more of a dance-kissed pace and weight to juxtapose a somewhat topical outpouring.
Inspired by the Michael Jackson song Do You Know Where Your Children Are?, As A Parent delves into the unthinkable topic of child abuse at the hands of the parents. The lyrics are faded into the ethereal surroundings as usual, but certain lines pierce through, along with the darkness and emotive ache of the delivery, to really bring the issue home and ultimately draw some essential awareness towards it.
Injecting a touch of distorted metal threading is Try To Break Me, a brief but intriguing change in direction; before the hypnotic ambiance rains down once again. Then there’s Red Rover, the project’s only song not recorded during November of 2021 – perhaps a more classic, rhythm-led Isaiah sound, minimalist and distant.
With Lucifer, Isaiah explores family history, the tragic passing of a Mother and the boldly negative image of a father in contrast. Certain melodic moments really connect here, when the beat is pounding and the voice rises up with it, the personal touch working its magic in displaying authenticity amidst the music.
Stylistically tracks like Swing Set, Undressed and Horizon stand out for their electronically playful make-up. Then there’s a lower-toned hit of contemporary reflection in the form of Truth – a story of a toxic work environment, told with unapologetically confronting lyrics yet somewhat tentative vocals to further the weight of the title.
Once again, despite the fullness of the sound, everything from the writing to the recording and production is a solo effort. The debut album comes with an interesting title, the songs proceed to intrigue all the more so in light of it, and ultimately the project represents and introduces the Isaiah Mclaughlin creative corner with fearless devotion and depth.