LIVE: Jamie Isaac @ YES
WORDS BY GEORGE LINCOLN
It seemed fitting that the hazy and almost sombre atmosphere of YES’ Pink Room played host to Jamie Isaac on a bitterly cold evening in Manchester. Arriving with a band, Isaac tours to showcase his latest work – ‘(4:30) Idler’ – a mesmerising piece that boasts maturity from the multi–instrumentalist, blending genres and telling personal stories of his sleeplessness and worry.
Sticking with the atmospheric attitude that the album takes, Isaac merely wanders on to the stage through the warm welcome, and settled right into the set. Elegantly gliding through the openers, and arriving at debut album’s ‘Last Drip’; where an extended version truly allows the band to let go, inviting the odd head-bob as listeners get lost in the expansiveness of the sound.
Without much down time between songs, Isaac vaguely acknowledges the giddy crowd, calmly ushering them to be quiet to fully appreciate the depth of each track. ‘Doing Better’ for example, places a lilting piano refrain over a hip-hop beat, accompanied with beautifully controlled vocals that allow his thoughts to flow emotionally across the music. As the set progresses into ‘Wings’ the quality of Isaac’s keyboard playing is accurately highlighted, playing sensitively and passionately, considering each note placement so it ties the heartfelt music perfectly together.
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Throughout the set the band do an immaculate job of translating Isaac’s self-produced creations into powerful pieces that allow his vocals to soar. ‘Slurp’ especially; providing a simple bubbly groove with floaty vocals throughout, or ‘Eyes Closed’; where a seductive guitar lead partners with a high pitch bass-line to create an immersive sense of energy around the room.
While the sounds created by Isaac and his band are often at the forefront of the tracks, the lyrics that drift blissfully behind are deep and emotive. As the last song begins – ‘(4:30) Idler’ – the band intensifies and Isaac continues by explaining the meaning behind the lyrics (and what feels like much of the album), in a spoken word like fashion; ending the set with an energetic flurry that caps off a superb performance. With Jamie Isaac already talking about getting to work on his third full length album, this simply feels like a stepping stone for the talented 24 year old. An effortless blend of, soul, jazz, bass and electronic synth – it’s no wonder he can’t sleep.