Isaiah Mclaughlin - Reincarnation - Stereo Stickman

Isaiah Mclaughlin Reincarnation


An industrial whirlwind of sound – cascading synths, melodies, harmonies and a rhythmic robotic stomp of a rhythm – the iconic Isaiah Mclaughlin returns, with the aptly-titled, extensive conceptual album Reincarnation.

Grandfather of Time is the opener, intriguing by nature and cleverly contrasting machine-like production with softly hopeful melodies and poetic lyrical depths. Isaiah’s voice is clearer than ever, the lessons of this reflective piece connecting with ease, and the concept as such lingering in the mind after listening.

Twenty-one tracks in full make up Reincarnation, the style as unmistakable as before – the vocal tremor, the hypnotic intertwining of layers and details and energies. Closeted hits second and initially presents a faster, more intense pace, before falling away to lay bare the heartfelt contemplations of the lyrics.

The mix is more chaotic now, more classically reminiscent of Isaiah Mclaughlin’s style, but still that clarity helps the words reach out with realness and poignancy. It’s vague, poetic and complex, but doused in purpose and personal observation. Brief moments of unsettling ferocity emerge during the final moments – an artistic shift that recaptures any wandering minds.

For Dunes of Glory, cinematic power and heavy bass relay a simple, repeating pattern of melody. The lyrics are complex again, uncertain and fascinating. You can make your own story from each listen, in a way, progressing from the experience of reading a letter to the artist’s self, to feeling as if the words were purely for you.

Production-wise this is one of Isaiah’s most experimental and ambitious albums yet. Consider the lower depth, minimalism and darkness of No Need To Rush, or the distorted and immersive haunting layers of Black Hole. Then as we move into the eighties-esque Vile, and the later manic weight of Blood Ties, the music captures a sense of urgency, and the lyrics become all the more interesting.

It feels as if there are secrets interwoven amidst each song, quiet revelations and opinions that take more than one listen to unpack – perhaps an intentional shyness or uncertainty that naturally comes with the vocal style and fullness of design. The subsequent track Incest marks a boldly honest example of precisely that.

Sonically we move into ambient ethereal realms for the likes of a movie-style Envy, a personal depiction of self-belief overshadowed by green-eyed observers. Always Going Under is equally intimate in its storytelling and journal-like vulnerability, then Survive raises the power and presence, before Penurious brings back those industrial moving parts.

The album’s latter half delivers a few striking lyrical gems – I Choose resounding with ‘In this world of chaos and strife’ as a compelling introduction. Musically too, things get all the more artistic with the variation from Vampire Love through to Ballerina, before the fearlessly personal Mom permits the listener a clear and strong connection to the journey of the real Isaiah McLaughlin.

We finish with Reincarnation, a title-track that wraps up a heartfelt and vast exploration of self and purpose in the modern realm. It’s a dark and daunting closer, and a final dose of eclecticism from the always creatively uninhibited, profoundly thoughtful Isaiah Mclaughlin.

Download or stream Reincarnation. Find Isaiah Mclaughllin on Facebook & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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