Beaming down from the far reaches of the progressive-rock galaxy
ISO describes Polydimension as a spiritual album which can give a euphoric feeling to the listener, whilst they also break away with more energetic and upbeat tempo songs to keep a balance throughout the experience. The album was written over the internet seeing as Richard now resides in Cape Town and the rest of the band in Johannesburg. Everyone wrote their parts to the recordings he sent, and then the band rehearsed together for a week before they tracked the album live together in one room. Now if that’s not commitment then I don’t know what is.
This is one of those albums that need the listener to pay close attention to details. As you get to know the songs well, you’ll love them more each time. Each track and its various elements of progressive genres and eras, outstanding keys, and larger than life lyrics give this album a symphonic feel. The artistry and ability of these musicians is impressive. Each musician’s talent is tangible, and the way they write and work together results in a smooth and spectacular musical result.
Polydimension was written over a six month period between the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 at Openroom Studios in Johannesburg with Darryl Torr; produced by the band and mixed by Peach van Pletzen.
Opening with ‘Evolution’, the album begins with some power chords and a rhythm section that is extremely tight, with a myriad of time signature changes that serve the song quite well. The second track ‘Rabbit Hole’, which was the first single released off the album, signifies an enticement; the song openly displays some of the musical attributes of what the album has in store ending in an echo of calls, in what seems to be a bird.
With ‘Wonder Aloud’, there is a contrast that blasts within a contemporary progressive time signature, overlaid by the really rather beautiful vocals of Richard Brokensha. ‘Touch of Innocence’ and ‘State of Blue’ showcase a slower beat to the album, as well as maintains a sense of confident guitar playing and consistently excellent song writing. ‘Polydimension‘, the namesake of the album, takes me back to ISO’s slightly more progressive days, giving their album a unique edge to formative years that tell tales of another dimension.
‘The Field’ starts with an aggression of guitar chords and lyrics that echoes through your ears, leaving me feeling both very satisfied and a little dispirited. I find myself smiling at the fantastically descriptive narrative in “From the Skyline”. The lyrics on this track are poetically written with subtle nuances rather than stating the obvious and this pleasingly package leaves the track largely to our own interpretation.
‘Walking Through the City’ grabs me as the sound takes you on this adventure through the city, with beautifully composed keys; where half way through the song, the synthesizer turns to a slight darkness followed by progressive guitar chords. This album’s technical stance takes listeners on a journey of skill and creation, which is what the band has come to excell at. ‘No Other Way’ starts with a mixture of guitar and keyboard tunes, with a slightly dark and exciting undertone. With lyrics that stand out most throughout the whole album /Would you fall in love again/ if it’s all the fucking same?
As the album comes to an end, ‘The Past’ tends to kick in some feelings of nostalgia, as the lyrics speak for themselves. The track comes to an uncomfortable stop at the end, and I’m left wondering whether there was an error in production or if it was done on purpose?
ISO has covered a lot of diverse and different styles for their new album. It features a lot more subjected guitar riffs, which were avoided with their previous release ‘Passages’, and rich deep keys to add an extra feel to the music instead of programming it in. Polydimension also features harmonies in the vocals and polyrhythms and variety which include ballads, instrumental sections, solos, heavy songs, funk and jazz.
Personally, I always fancy being launched into the stratosphere after a rhythmic instrumental build up and I enjoy things when they truly kick off. The instrumental combination throughout this whole album takes you to a distant place and perfectly showcases the expertise of these musicians. There is a seamless interplay of each instrument resulting in a perfect mix of sounds and tones. Simply breathtaking keys and descending guitar solos here and there serve to highlight the musicianship of what is known as ISO.
I respond to music emotionally and my interest lies in how the music makes me feel. This makes me feel mellow, with a metaphorical ear pricked up as I’m grabbed by the clever interplay of each instrument. Polydimension will appeal to fans of symphonic, progressive and psychedelic rock genres.