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Izzy’s Daughter Izzy’s Daughter
Album: Luna
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 8

There's frustratingly little information available on Izzy's Daughter, beyond the bare fact that it's the solo music project of visual artist Michelle Nichols, and constitutes a followup to her 2014 "dark-folk" debut album Autumn Flowers.

Once more, the focus is firmly on Michelle's hypnotic vocal tones (her voice has been variously described as "somewhere between Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt and the wordless incantations of Lisa Gerrard", but none of these artists are much within my specialism so it's hard to comment further). Michelle's songs examine the cracks left by emotional and physical distance as well as the battle to understand ourselves: familiar s/s themes, of course, and Michelle's personal delivery is most persuasive, pure and controlled. Especially if songs are taken in isolation. But for me, the problem is that each song is built around a cyclic motif or piano arpeggio and there's too little if any subsequent variation in mood or pace to sustain a cumulative interest. Quite simply, I was disappointed that the promise of the initial moments, the atmosphere Michelle conjures at the outset, is neither sustained nor developed in the ensuing album, even though additional texturings provide a modicum of incidental interest on the album's title song and a temporary upward-shift in tempo for Echoes is a welcome development, but the song's repetitive nature errs on the side of minimalism and ultimately goes nowhere (except for echoing back on itself).

The droning string textures of Lullaby are well managed and cleanly recorded, but again the poetry of the lyrics is submerged beneath a dearth of melodic development. The slow-burning questioning of Are You There? is all very well, but extending this swooning, cinematic approach and "stately ritualism" to each and every song does the deeper reflective and poetic quality of Michelle's writing no favours. I'm sure there are listeners who will appreciate Michelle's music for what it delivers, but I was rather led to expect something more rewarding in the way of melody and structure.

David Kidman