The new EP from UK rock band Isolated Atoms treats the ear to music which is distinctive yet also a list of influences which seem to ooze from every track. Illuminate is a creative release offering as many engaging new flavours as it does nostalgic spices seeded in the sound of the eighties. This results in an EP which feels like an old acquaintance resurrected in a new body and fuelled by fresh energy. With the band name partly inspired by the song of the same name from the legendary Joy Division you immediately get some idea of the sounds breathing within the impressive tracks.
The band was formed in 2008 in the Black Country, West Midlands, and took no time in coming to the close attention of more and more people, their debut single of the following year Tell Me What I Want, grabbing radio play and finding subsequently itself and the band under the enthusiastic notice of the likes of Derek Forbes (Simple Minds) and Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order). The new release looks set to easily expand on this existing awareness in the UK to take the band further on from a growing response which has seen them finding recognition in the US with shows at various venues including the legendary Whiskey a Go-Go.
Isolated Atoms and Illuminate brings electro rock if one is to simplify it to the ear but their unique version comes with a steel and distinctly dark feel which has something for everyone from electro pop enthusiasts to goth and post punk fans. They are hard to pin down as their songs inspire thoughts and emotions from bands such as obviously Joy Division and New Order to Leisure Process and Sisters Of Mercy as well as current bands like Editors and Dommin. The songs are a heady fusion of sounds led by the unique expressive voice of Grant Leon Ashman, his delivery and style laced with touches of Andre Eldritch and Ian Astbury to his own distinctive and emotive tones.
Opener Gun In My Hand has a kind of vaunt to its intent, a surety that connects within moments. The song is openly infectious, its hold strengthening as the sounds wrap themselves firmly around the senses. With a Sisters of Mercy bassline resonating insistently and guitars fired in the forge of the Cult the song stomps eagerly; it is an addiction in the making ensured by melodies and essences bringing memories of the likes of The March Violets.
A strong start is soon pursued to equal effect by the mesmeric melodies and caress of Pray For Me Now. Like an enthused young brother the song builds on the strength of Gun In My Hand with a blues impassioned declaration from Ashman upon a swell of graceful synth delight. Caressing the senses as effectively as the first track pumped them up, the song shows the depth and diversity to the band within their enterprising sound. The next song Perception continues the mood and expansive sweep with synths that soar and lap around the burning passion of lyrics, the stirring vocals, and pulsating basslines.
Final song is a remix of a previous single Play, a song which feels very similar initially to the previous song. One its eighties electronica sounds swarm all over the ear though we are lifted into another soundscape of the Isolated Atoms musical world. This song offers the strongest nostalgic energy of the release, the song reminding of bands like The The and Positive Noise, though the dark essences of the song always keeps it wholly original.
Illuminate is a strange release that is original and very familiar at the same time even if you have never heard the music of Isolated Atoms before. Importantly though it is a mesmeric and thoroughly pleasing release that makes one eager for more from the band and soon.