Leading with those unmistakably unique dreamscapes and faded, distant vocals, Isaiah Mclaughlin offers up his final EP for the time-being – a self-produced, self-written and performed project that delves into the dark pop realm with one last gasp of contemplation.
Slave features the classically hypnotic fusing of layers that we know from Isaiah’s previous work, yet offers a late-night flavour that places the voice within the mix and creates a sort of chaotic, after-party kind of vibe; one that reaches all at once for euphoria and personal connection. Time To Go is the opener and starts up the Slave journey well.
Then we get the tumbling drums, drama and sci-fi-space of Valley Of The End, an intriguing track with a notably creative rhythm to both the voice and the beat. Weave in poetic imagery and all of a sudden things get all the more artistic and dreamy.
Lost Soul follows and pairs a heavy, deep-house-style beat with delicate outer layers and a plethora of vocal echoes. For most of these tracks there’s the classic Isaiah way of freestyle-like melodic outpourings, almost an improvisational trait, but here we get a more clear structure – a quality that continues in a fully-loaded manner throughout a scene-setting and fuzzy Dark City. The voice also reaches greater heights of melody here, utilising contrast within the performance.
An aptly haunting Hallows Eve brings in a clear MJ influence in the vocal judders and the gentle soul of the delivery. Bass-heavy rhythms again keep the threads alive stylistically, meanwhile Isaiah takes us to a new realm for this scene in the Slave story.
The title-track wraps things up and offers a dance-kissed pace and style with plenty of quieter moments woven in – and that now recognisable rising march of the beat. Always the artist’s voice is easy to pinpoint, the overall style true to Mclaughlin alone at present. The music takes the lead, but the concepts within maintain a level of intrigue that’s likely to keep fans coming back for further clarity and connection.