2020 was a big year or the insularity movement in pop music to say the least, but few of the records I’ve had the chance to sit down with in the past couple of months have captured the spirit of this narrative quite as well as Izzy Outerspace’s new release Amazon does. Although sonically limited by the minimalist aesthetics of the singer/songwriter behind the mic, this record features the sort of tracklist that demands a solid, uninterrupted listening session out of its audience if the contents it has to share are to be properly absorbed. Both progressive and yet fractured enough to sound multidimensional when it absolutely didn’t need to be, Amazon is a provocative and passionately fluid supersized EP that feels like the start of a really incredible career.
Just in terms of their basic components, “Empty,” “Wildfires,” “Home” and “Vietnam” could have made for an interesting teaser disc all on their own, but when packaged with the other four songs here they sound like the cornerstones of a brutally personal diary entry. There’s so much for us to learn from the lyrics in this record that it almost seems silly for me to suggest spending as much time trying to deconstruct all of the emotion in the instrumentation as well, but I still find it to be a worthy exercise. Even in minimalism, Izzy Outerspace is creating a safe space for indulgent confessions that most can only scribble into a notebook for fear of feeling their weight when spoken aloud.
I’d really love to hear “Spare Time” and “Stars” live sometime, and while the other tracks here are really compelling, there’s something so unapologetically brash about the way these two are broken off that I feel like they’re more focused around the kind of sound and style we can expect to hear from Izzy Outerspace in the future. She’s being herself in every part of Amazon, but in this pair of performances she’s being herself on overdrive, exploiting the emotional thrust of her poetic delivery for everything it’s worth (and maybe just a touch more). It’s rebellious and angry, but so subtly sewn into the basic framework of the music that her attack never takes any of the spotlight away from the substance of the songwriting.
Izzy Outerspace is channeling isolation like no other singer/songwriter in her class with this debut record, and if you’re curious to see why critics have been taking a shine to her work, now is a great time to take a peek at Amazon. There were a lot of duds to come out of the woodwork in 2020, but with the start of 2021 it’s clear that the likes of true indie talent are taking hold of the collective trajectory right when we need them to most – Izzy Outerspace among them. I’d love to hear a follow-up to this extended play a lot sooner than later, and with the demand I project its best songs might have, I think I’m going to get my wish.
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