Reviewed by: Ziggy Merritt
The fascination with the occult, with magic, has been at the forefront of pop culture for decades. It satisfies the need for an escape, for belief in something more extraordinary than maudlin reality. For Izzy True, debut LP, Nope provides that escape. Peppered with lyrics describing mystics and demons, Izzy’s magic here is their natural gift for storytelling, a gift that does not spare any feverish, frustrated emotion for the listener.
Nope itself plays out very much like a lo-fi cassette tape. The production is fuzzy and raw with a sound that in part follows the tracks of folk punk acts such as Waxahatchee. In some tracks such as one of the album’s highlights “Jamie” you can even hear the faint hum of the amp in the background as the bass guitar picks away in the intro. It’s not without purpose however. The production here feeds into that same sense of mystery and wonder, foreboding or otherwise, that Izzy is eager to feed their audience.
“Total Body Erasure” brings to the forefront some of Nope‘s darker textures. Izzy’s voice here is tinged with pain as they belt those same three words, almost an incantation that years for freedom away from themselves. This brings to mind feelings of frustration, anxiety, even loneliness that are not so secretly hidden behind the lyrics.
Few of the album’s cuts crystallize these emotions more than the post-punk jangle that defines “Jamie.” Jamie is Izzy’s most vivid creation, a being capable of performing spells as well as receiving ominous visions. The character is linked into the loosely interconnected cast that makes up Nope’s mythology, a cast Izzy idolizes in a sense. Dipped into a mixture of psychedelic, often ethereal arrangements that cut into the occult fascination bands such as The Cocteau Twins developed in their early years, perhaps the greatest achievement of this debut is its ability to express something pure, heartfelt, unrestrained within its potent mixture of black magic.