A wave of well-crafted music…
4 tracks / 19:48
Following up their 2019 release, Don’t Panic, New York prog rockers Izz has released a twenty-minute treat called Half Life - a collection of three new songs and one fine live recording of a song from 2004’s Ampersand Volume 1. The EP starts off impressively, with a furiously jazzy percussion attack emerging from a dreamy piano introduction. As with much of the music on Half Life, the keyboard lays a foundation and the bass and percussion carry the rhythmic weight in a sturdy, sure-footed fashion. Riding on the wave of the well-crafted music, John and Tom Galgano, Anmarie Byrns, and Laura Meade supply ever-increasing layers of vocal harmony.
The Galgano brothers - John (bass guitar, electric guitar, additional keys and vocals) and Tom (keyboards and vocals) share production, mixing, and engineering credit, and the songs sound wonderful. Paul Bremner on guitar is both restrained and explosive, depending on what’s called for- his visceral solos tend to enter into the songs powerfully, with a considerable attack. Drum credits are shared by Brian Coralian and Greg DiMiceli, yet the drums never dominate, but serve the songs appropriately, balancing the acoustic percussion with a bit of electronics. John’s bass playing is very deliberate, with an in-your-face style that anchors the music and reminds me a bit of Randy George’s rock-solid style. The vocals of Byrnes and Mead add a Glass Hammer/Iona vibe to the band’s sound.
Although not all of the material is brand-new (the title track was written several years ago) the members of Izz felt that the climate of world events signaled that the time was right for them to release this more thoughtful, introspective set of songs.
Judging by the live track, “The Wait of it All,” I’d say the time is also right for a live album. The vocals and playing are immaculate and the track has the added element of live performance energy. Every band member is in top form - and check out the searing guitar solo!
Half Life might be a light serving but it’s a great way to whet your appetite for what comes next from Izz.
- Bert Saraco