Rating – 4/5
Listen on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K06FL-jVv98&feature=youtu.be
Frost is the chilly debut single from Scottish outfit Isolates. Despite their lack of previous work, this single is bold, intelligent, and ambitious, and promises a bright future for the band.
The lyrics for Frost come from the 1922 poem After The Winter by Jamaican writer Claude McKay. The poem, and indeed the song, are about the struggles many face during the winter months, but how one can always look to the warmer and brighter times ahead. The use of a poem for the lyrics is a clever move by the band, and results in them retaining a certain degree of anonymity. The lyrics help create a distant and dreamy atmosphere, fitting perfectly with the feeling of being cold and isolated in an expansive open space. Instead of simply reciting the poem, a few lines are selected from the first stanza and turned into a chorus that is returned to throughout. The result is an artistic and contemplative message.
Instrumentally, Frost fits the lyrical content well, and appears to be influenced by prog rock and dream pop. The relatively slow-tempo grooving drums and atmospheric feel give nods to bands such as Turnover and Tigers Jaw, but it is evident the influences come from much further afield as well. Delayed guitars are layered together beautifully and float above a punchy bass line. The vocals in the verses are deep and commanding, whilst giving way to a more emotional release in the choruses. The vocal highlight however is the eerie choral-like backing vocals which are prominent throughout, adding a tremendous amount to the desolate feel of the song.
Frost is a strong start for Isolates and shows a great deal of artistic depth and creativity. It feels like it would fit perfectly on an album of similarly deep and atmospheric songs, and hopefully that is exactly what’s to come.
Review by Will Cooper