Opinion Review

ISO: Polydimension

“Polydimension” stands as ISO’s sixth studio offering complete with a plethora of unravelling layers, as its title suggests, in which several strands of genre and style all neatly collapse into one pretty package. This release sees the group return to a former avenue of sound where a sonic landscape of multiplicity and experimentation is encountered alongside a distinctly progressive and polyrhythmic entry. The reversion does not entail a decline in quality or creativity, but rather a thematic expansion thereof instead as a deftly explorative and purposeful product.

The record moves in a direction quite decidedly unlike ISO’s previous release, the EP “Passages”, by curtailing faintness and subtlety in favour of complication and technique. The album’s quality of production alone displays an acute precision in relation to both the collecting and merging of its numerous dimensions. Its separate strands all seem to seamlessly coincide, starkly opposing what the track ‘Rabbit Hole’ might imply in its title as an unsettling encounter. There is thus a clear refinement throughout all eleven tracks that individually also present enough to unpack an impressive amass of technicality and structure.

Although ISO has often been branded as a predominantly synth-rock act, Alex Parker’s increased use of piano interlaces the album with an undercurrent that happily breaks away from any synth-only characterisations. It is a nuanced move also marked by instrumental interludes that reel in the greater progressive instances off the album. ‘The Field’ and ‘Walk The City’ particularly rely on these interludes to position the heavier lines of overdriven guitar and bass melody in between the more subdued verses.

Richard Brokensha’s gently sung vocals furthermore provide certain tender threads across the album’s forceful edges. The delivered lines of vocal melody are intricate and unconventional as they uniquely play with tempo, cadence, and additional harmonies. Franco Schoeman’s equally melodious basslines skilfully demonstrates these cadences surrounding melody and motion by framing each track with a velvet interior that glides or bounces within every individual progression.

It is also the group’s first studio release with their newest member, drummer Nick McCreadie, who undoubtedly injects a fresh spark of percussive energy into the playing field. It isn’t a mere monotonous pattern of hits or kicks as McCreadie employs every inch of the drum-kit to pair the expanding movement of instrumentation and percussion as fluently as possible.

Each member’s personal flair consequently bleeds into “Polydimension’s” entire arrangement, obtaining an immersive quality that hosts a range of sonic variations. In this multi-faceted spectrum you’ll find guitar tones faintly resembling ’80s arena rock to specific rhythm sections dedicated to the technical placement of polyrhythms and distinct accents. ISO has therefore mastered the reversion to their roots in a standard unmatched by their local contemporaries as an outfit undeniably at one of their most versatile peaks. They’ve created an inimitable product that is as transcending as it is energetic, captivating listeners in a true voyage of sound that demands one’s strict attention in order to fully digest all of its crossing dimensions.

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Listen to “Polydimension” below on Deezer.