With my beloved working in London, there was chance this week, for me to reorganise the living room so I could recover the turntable out of the small pile in the corner (in my world, a tidy house indicates you just don’t have enough going on), play the new IST IST 12 inch EP Everything Is Different Now and keep a wary eye on the cats fixated by that large red vinyl spinning orb in the corner. We music fans must suffer for our pleasure.
I’m pleased to have made the effort; this IST IST EP Everything Is Different Now is a pure delight. It’s only January and this EP is already destined to be one of my records of the year. Released this Friday, ‘Everything Is Different Now’ represents genuine evolution from the band. Their first release as a quartet; whilst much of the untamed ferocity from the band’s early live outings has subsided, their stagecraft, intensity and presence has never wavered.
It’s would be lazy to make the immediate statement and suggest these Manchester lads are the sons of Joy Division or Editors. I guess its the deep strident vocals of Adam Houghton, and that, sometimes, rather bleak industrial backdrop from Andy K, Joel Kay and Mat Peters that make the comparison viable. However IST IST are no Joy Division, there’s a more accessible beat to the music, a less intense sound and a humour that sadly bypassed Ian Curtis on record. Track Jennifer’s Lips explains that this woman’s kissers are both full of sin and venom which I feel concisely explains that situation.
While there is the playfulness, the IST IST guys are not without creating atmosphere and opening track Entry is a slow brooding build up to what’s to come. Exist is a strong track with a banging but deep chorus with an insistent beat. While its not an obvious dance floor filler, nevertheless its a track to lose all your troubles to, and I’m sure it is a live banger.
Son Is The Father shows the maturity of this band and the four years they have been together. It’s a carefully paced deep tune and perhaps reflects that we all reach a stage where we suddenly feel more responsible and adult than our parents. The title of the EP Everything Is Different Now features large on this track, and it’s very true that once that “invincible” bubble we attach to our parents bursts, there truly is no return to that previous almost submissive relationship with them.
The b side of the EP offers the greatest change to the IST IST sound with much grander and reflective tracks. There is little better manifesto for IST IST’s opening shot for perhaps becoming one of the artists of the 2020’s. Opener I Want To Disappear is a true delight. It’s a complex arrangement of lush beats and deft relaxed vocal and flow. It’s a daft comparison but I get something of the grand ideas and clever ambition of Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) rather than the slightly stodgy grandiose of someone like Elbow. This is a clever beautifully executed piece.
To close is a track which with its sound has a significantly inappropriate title Undignified. This track has a wide open landscape and like when I heard Sigur Ros for the first time all those years ago, it’s a sound that opens your eyes and feels like you can see for miles with the clarity and purity of it.
Have I ever mentioned just how much I love vinyl and this perfect tune? On this sole EP, IST IST have produced at least three.
In Yorkshire and Manchester, IST IST are playing live at Hebden Bridge Trades on 30 January (and I kick myself for missing tickets), Leeds Lending Room on 28 February, Hull’s Polar Bear on 5 March, Sheffield Cafe Totem on 9 March, and Manchester Gorilla on 16 March