By Archie Porter
Jun 12, 2018
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Review: (4:30) Idler – Jamie Isaac

Following on from his debut album, (4:30) Idler sees singer-songwriter/producer, Jamie Isaac, return with a sunnier, cleaner, and incredibly cosy record – though it lacks the strength and cohesion of his first effort. The first four tracks, all of which were released as singles, create a strong and immediate opening; ‘Wings’, the first song on the album, excellently utilizes live percussion and bossa nova rhythms atop Isaac’s soft piano melodies, creating a newfound sense of momentum in his music.

The following three tracks, ‘Doing Better’, ‘Maybe’, and the dazzling titular ‘(4:30) Idler / Sleep’, vary in style and pace but remain tenacious in their arrangement. The record flows with a real sense of self-assurance and confidence; a quality that helps propel the audience along on Isaac’s woozy, melancholy journey. Breaking things up with the minute-long interlude, ‘Yellow Jacket’, allows the audience to breathe after the immediacy of the first four tracks. The brief intermission shows a return to his choir-boy roots, demonstrating Isaac’s ability for angelic falsetto vocals.

Subsequently, the sixth track ‘Eyes Closed’ is one of the strongest songs here – though, admittedly it doesn’t sound too dissimilar to his earlier work. The electronic melody throughout the track nods to Isaac’s experimental tendencies, an aspect that is carried throughout the record in terms of the amalgamations of different genres and sounds. The seventh song, ‘Slurp’, is sonically the most upbeat song on the record, yet the lyrics retain the typically vulnerable nature of Isaac’s other music. After this comes ‘Counts For Something’, one of my personal favourites. The track is dark and dreary, leaning itself into hip-hop, which comes as a much-needed rejuvenation amongst the slower second half of the record.

After this comes ‘Melt’, the dullest track of the lot – however, this feels like the only filler on the album. Closing the record is ‘Drifted / Rope’, and ‘Delight’, two fantastic and gloomy songs that end things on a surprisingly dark note, given the upbeat nature of the preceding tracks. While the record sometimes dips in quality and doesn’t reach the heights of his debut album, (4:30) Idler is a solid piece of work that occasionally soars.

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