The Late Isabel made heads turn when they released Doll’s Head almost half a decade ago and while it wasn’t exactly mainstream fodder, it was surprising to hear the sheer amount of people who have found the album to be very refreshing. Five years later, the band is still at it and while the darkness in the music is still palpable, there’s definitely a lot of grit added to the mix. The band did take a while before they released a follow up EP but it really feels like The Late Isabel produced something special with Lackadaisical.
The title track ‘Lackadaisical’ has a very dirge-like rhythm that just drones out for the rest of the song. There’s an almost hypnotic quality to the song that’s makes the track achieve what it seems to want to achieve from the get go – create a mood instead of just being a collection of sounds.
Wawi Navarroza takes over vocals duty once again for the second track ‘Isabel The Damaged’ that has a very good contrast from ‘Lackadaiscal’. While still evoking a very dark feel, the song does manage to sound upbeat and gritty at the same time. If the first track was successful in making your spirit weigh hundreds of pounds, ‘Isabel The Damned’ would make you want to move and listen to what happens to the story of Isabel after she approaches the fateful water tower. There’s something that needs to be said for a band that could pull off sounding dark but at the same time creating music that most people would want to move to.
‘Tinstick Romance’ takes off from where ‘Isabel The Damned’ ends. It once again captures the musical dynamism that seems to be the underlying theme of the album contrasted with relatively dark lyrics. The song transports you to a very aurally-heavy place that seems very familiar but at the same time feels very new, novel and somehow alien.
The fourth track ‘Imperial’ sticks out with a very distinct progression that’s set to an almost pentatonic rhythm. The mood does change quickly though as the song lends itself to the prevalent theme of The Late Isabel – the familiar feel of darkness and doom that is somehow faced with gutsiness and reckless abandon. There’s an air of impending doom but there’s a tongue-in-cheek approach to the apparent seriousness of it all.
The last track ‘Midnight City’ captures the faint cries of an aimless soul wandering through a cold ubran landscape. It’s hauntingly beautiful and it definitely relates the feeling of a humdrum existence that a creature of the night would probably experience. It’s a perfect ending to a very solid compilation that would definitely want you asking for more.
The Late Isabel is definitely one of those bands that you would wish could come up with a full-length album. The band will be going on semi-hiatus with Wawi going to Europe for her studies and while five tracks may not cut it as far as quelling for the longing is concerned, Lackadaisical will probably come very close to doing so.