Is/Is | Palmers
When I first heard Is/Is’s debut EP (“This Is Happening”) in 2010, I really believed this Minneapolis-turned-Portland band could be on its way to big things. I still believe that — following in the path of groups like Warpaint and Dum Dum Girls. All the pieces were there — and still are. Yes, Is/Is only had four songs to its name at the time, and I’m guessing they weren’t known outside Minnesota — or even that much in Minnesota. But those fours tracks were superb. They had that perfect balance between noise and melody, dreamscape and buzz-saw, slap and a kiss. Their songs attacked with a ferocious fuzz, vibing on a swinging sonic grunge, with a thin line of girliness to it all — manifesting itself in Rose’s lead vocals. It was a sound bubbling over with possibility. Think Lush and The Jesus and Mary Chain. All the tracks were high quality, including a speedy stunner called “Eating Hourglasses“, a name which seemed to fit since the band was destroying time on that track. It’s pace is all over the place — in a good way — ending with Rose’s punked-out scream. That’s not to say the band didn’t make some disappointing tracks. I thought the singles they were making in 2012 were a bit light. Too ethereal, not quite enough passion in a track like “Lie Awake”. They weren’t bad, but I wasn’t as moved as when I heard “This Is Happening”. This time around Is/Is retooled its sound again, as all bands do in the process of finding themselves. It’s a different style than 2010 and 2012, while still retaining some small aspects. In fact, these new tracks surprised me. No more thrash-outs. It’s all sedate, delicate, polished, echoed and pretty. In short, it’s fantastic. Listen to the song “Palmers”, one of the tracks off the upcoming release, ‘Shadow Days”, out via Moon Glyph on September 23. Follow the band on twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.