After their first album „Ailleurs“ from 2008 the french classic rock band Isis Child now published the second one called „Strange Days“. And it is the bands first output in english language. Isis Child is the band of guitarplayer/songwriter Freddy Mazzucco who lived in the states for 12 years where he played in several bands, but he came back to france to form his own band. In the line up today we find the female Nathalie Pellissier on vocals. So for that we will see if Isis Child can make it to break out of the mass of female fronted rockbands.
„Let’s take a walk“ starts the album with tempo. Good guitar hooklines and straight arrangements building the base that is deep rooted in the Hardrock scene of the 80′s or even 70′s. Nathalie owns a pleasant voice like the early Ann Wilson of Heart and is, thank god, not one the hundreds of elves that are spreading their half time operas to the world. This song kicks and Freddy offers us a first great guitar solo that proofs his experience he got from his time in the states. And that also means that the sound of Isis Child lies more in american rock style than in french. Good straight song !!
Hard guitar riff at the beginning of „Dancing“ played in ¾ beat…best for the hard rockin’ dance floors. A stamping song based on guitars but in the end together with suddenly appearing keyboards that let the song fade out in fricklin’ style. The voice of Nathalie sounds rough enough to lean the songs a little dirty touch that you need if you play street rock’n roll. So she doesn’t act cheesy and that’s good.
Slower song is coming up with „Can’t you hear me“. Bluesy and it remembers to songs like Sweet Child of mine from Gun’s n Roses. Best for sitting in a bar relaxing, whiskey in your hand and listen to the band that is performing on the smoked stage. In the screams Nathalie sometimes comes near to female goddess Doro Pesch but in a rockin’, not metal way.
Acoustical guitars open „I love the way“. Together with some background keys and smoothing vocals this is the first ballad of the album. Harder guitars in the refrain makes it hymn character. The change of different played guitar styles build the essence of the song. Some sound samples in the back rounds it up as a good hard rock semi-ballad. Great !!
„Loneliness“ starst a littly mystic, overlayed with Nathalie’s voice. Seems to be another slower song. But the guitars break the silence soon and so the song moves to a tragic rock track with balladesque touch. A song for broken hearts…..and also the guitars of Freddy seem to suffer with them. All in all a classic hard rock song with melancholy vibes.
Some US hairspray 80′s feeling offers „If you wanna be mine“. Wonderful voice of Nathalie and superb guitar work of Freddy are the essence of this song. Combined with some keyboard sound samples this is a real radio song. Heart again shines through and if we would be back in the states in the early 90′s this song had a good chance as a chartbreaker. Sing-a-long track really good handmade.
„It’s always the same“ ? No..not in this album. Isis Child varies in their hard rock sound. This track starts slow with gentle back guitars but is finding a fine rockin’ bridge to the refrain. Again deep rooted in the 80′s hard rock scene this is another song that directly hits your ears. The interplay between balladesque parts and harder moments works perfect.
Cool bass line opens „Looking for the one“. Affectionate vocals caress your soul. I am feeling warm inside and all my fears and tears are gone. Easy listening for sure but the arrangements are that good that you cannot do anything else than sing with Nathalie. Here the band leaves the rock scene and moves more over into popular music. Exception the refrain, underlined with Freddy’s guitar.
The title track to follow. „Strange Days“ starts again a little mystical with keyboard and light vocals. But soon the song becomes a real hard rock hymn. The band works with twin vocals a lot. An elegian guitar solo of Freddy intensifies the feeling that this is more a sad song. But not without hope. Nathalie’s voice is suffering…not knowing what is going on. Short but intensive track. For me the best one so far.
More happy sounds „Even if“. Some Sweet Home Alabama opening guitar line. A real vocals song. Nathalie has to sing here all the time only interrupted by a short guitar solo. One of the harder songs on this album. And thats good after several slower slongs before. So we can say…we are now back on the american highway.
But the band hits the brakes again with „Someone“. Dreamily vocals sparely instrumentated. It takes to the middle of the song as some guitars appear and hides it from a spoken song with light backgroun sound. For me this song is too boring. Another rocker at this time would have been the better choice. The only drop out of this album.
„Stop looking down to me“….yes..thats what I say every time. But again the song starts too slow. Acoustic guitar and vocals. Ok…the vocals are brilliant and overwhelming. But I am missing the rockin’ vibes here. If you are back in the pub sitting before your beer or whiskey you are absolutely right with this son. I would have preferred a hard rock smasher in the end.
Strange Days starts as a real hard rock album but it is getting softer in the end. The sound is based on Freddy Mazzucco’s guitar play and the..yes…great vocals of Nathalie Pellisier. I wished Freddy would have arranged more guitar outbreaks sometimes and it seems that the ideas at the last parts of the album were missing.
Points: 8 / 10
Review by Kerbinator