The world of the singer/songwriter is an overcrowded one. There seems
to be no end to the number of white guys who picked up an acoustic
guitar and decided they could write songs, usually half of them for
the purpose of picking up girls. This means that it is vitally important
for a songwriter to distinguish themselves somehow. They need to convince
the world that their music needs to be heard and they have something
different and personal to say. If they can't accomplish this, then
they might as well hang it up, because they will be lost in a sea
of generic music.
That said, when it comes to Isaac Russell and his self-titled
EP, he has found his own voice. His voice has a very comfortable feeling
to it, like something that wouldn't be out of place on the pop charts.
But his lyrics are written with a degree of depth that sounds like
he is saying something in his way. "Made Me A Man," for
instance, is a superbly written song telling off an apparently unfaithful
woman. The music moves along quickly, allowing Russell to get across
the emotions of hurt and anger that the lyrics so effectively convey.
The refrain of, "You have made me a man, darling, and I wish
you well/You and my best friend can go to hell" is delivered
with power and the music changes to an appropriate minor key tonality
to give it a different feeling than the verses.
"Lighthouse" is also a well-written musing on death. It's
a bouncy tune that belies lyrics that wonder, "If there's a light
at the end of the tunnel/Is there a lighthouse at the end?" Asking
the question of not just is there a light in the distance, but if
it's even coming from anywhere or is it just a hallucination. And
beyond that, who controls the light if there is a source to it in
the first place? It's a simple song with more depth than a lot of
songwriters would give to the subject. "Golden" goes back
to the theme of heartbreak, with a more full musical backdrop to drive
the poppy melody. It's written as more of a lost love song where Russell
describes himself as, "A scribble in your book/An awful risk
you should have never took." It's moving and personal and a highlight
of the album.
This is a well crafted EP whose biggest flaw is that it's over
too quickly. We only get a glimpse of the talented songwriter that
is Isaac Russell and that just doesn't seem like enough. This worth
the time for anyone looking for a great folk album from an up and
coming artist. It will leave you, as it did me, eagerly awaiting
a full length album.
Check out more
Like this article?
e-mail it to