At the start of the year I reviewed ‘Terrified’, the new single from Isaac Gracie. At this point, Isaac had gone from recording demos in his bedroom to being offered record deals left and right, suddenly thrusting him beyond the eternal pool of budding musicians into the spotlight marked “The next Jeff Buckley.” Mad. Back then ‘Terrified’ blew me away. It was an honest, heartfelt tune complete with soaring harmonies and a chorus that made it obvious why the powers above plucked him from the crowd. Nowadays, Isaac Gracie’s debut album is here, and ‘Terrified’ has a whole new light to it.
Reading from interviews, it seems even Isaac is perplexed by his sudden rush to fame, and ‘Terrified’ seems to take on a new meaning as a statement of fear to it all. It even kicks off the record, possibly as a device to let the audience down gently that Isaac isn’t ready to deliver something that warrants all of this buzz. It still remains one of my favourite songs of the year, and certainly helps open up the record with a low-key, intimate vibe.
‘Last Words’ and ‘The Death of You & I’ follow with a series of Western-esque sounds that would not seem out of place in a Sergio Leone collection. The smoky atmospheres of both tracks are built up by sombre acoustic chords and mellow harmonies to create a sound that’s surprisingly self-assured and comfortable in it’s own setting. ‘Running on Empty’ adds a bit of youthfulness to the record with it’s heightened tempo and anthemic melodies, while ‘That Was Then’ has it come crashing all the way back down again.
Isaac Gracie is a great debut album from Isaac Gracie. It’s possibly not going to live up to the buzz but was it ever going to? It’s not the record full of hits and hooks the labels and media hyped it up to be, but it’s a very pleasant, emotive acoustic record that goes at it’s own pace, and that’s great. Keep doing what you’re doing Isaac, it’s the best thing to do.