ARTIST: IS TROPICAL
ALBUM: BLACK ANYTHING
LABEL: AXIS MUNDI RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: 11 MARCH 2016
After a three year break, in which everything has changed for IS TROPICAL, the indietronica visionaries have returned with much more than a safe third album. Travel is so often used as an inspiration for artists, but perhaps never to such an extent as on Black Anything. Signing to New York indie label Axis Mundi Records has treated the band to the freedom they’ve clearly always needed to produce something truly special…
Recorded across five continents with each two-track block being a representation of one, Black Anything‘s geographical motivation has had a profound effect on the foundations of the album. Though there’s no major sonic differences between the tracks, the liberation of journeying the continents has pushed the Londoners to break through their ‘artistic barriers’ and create some exceptional music.
There’s a visceral vibe to the music from the opening clunks of ‘Lights On’ through to the closing drone of ‘What You Want’. Every track, even the undemanding ‘On My Way’, has a plethora of moments that creep up on the ears and pleasantly surprise the listener. In comparison to past releases, this intercontinental adventure has so much more substance to consume your attention, notably the addition of a consistent and concise vocalist. Kirstie Fleck, singer on 2013’s ‘Dancing Anymore’, was welcomed back in a masterstroke move to vocalise the album’s meticulously ramshackle atmosphere. Fleck’s humble trill is the pure voice needed to accompany the music’s organised distortion, and she executes her role with unwavering competence.
IS TROPICAL have moved forward into considerably more complex and exciting spheres. Additional sound effects constantly push each song to its limit, whilst the consistency of intrigue throughout is flawless. As an album, Black Anything is a work of experimental genius. As a piece of art, it’s a conceptual masterpiece.