The Isles | Troika
Most Likely To: be played by your bank. If they were hip. And you had any money to deposit.
Imagine how shocked I was to discover that Morrissey had a child: a boy. And he has a band. How did I miss this? I never saw Morrissey agonizing over the DNA results on Maury Povich.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t Morrissey’s progeny. Maybe it’s really him, hanging out with younger, grimier blokes in Long Island basements. Wow, suddenly, Moz’s pretty busy with his solo release and now a new band.
The truth is The Isles have been issuing music since their first EP in 2005. Since then, one of the tags they have acquired is having an ’80s “Manchester” sound. I call bullshit. Let’s not fart around and call it what it is; Morrissey-sounding music without Morrissey.
The Isles are not as lush and as angsty as The Smiths (and I am sure singer/writer Andrew Geller doesn’t look half as fabulous in a satin jacket). Seeing as how Troika is their first album not produced in their basement but in a studio, it would be nice to see them mix it up a bit. There are times when the band isn’t so Manchester. “After We’re Happy” has a nice beat, bridge, soaring strings, and harmony. It’s a driving little number. Geller sounds downright creepy on “Under the Cover of Paradise;” His monotone delivery over drums and ’60s keyboards evokes some cheap horror film host.
Unlike Billy Joel’s cheap pair of sneakers, there’s not a lot of mileage on Troika. After a few listens, it all feels a bit too familiar. It’s like driving around your block. It’s all nice and safe. But you get to the first intersection, look longingly to the left, and see all the loose girls from Cheyney High hanging out under the bleachers. Instead, the car veers right to the next intersection. Straight ahead is the nefarious other side of the tracks. But you hang another right to the next intersection. Again, off to the left are the few nice twists like “Think Too Much Of You”, “Justine” and “Goodwill and Cachet.” But before you know it, you are safe and sound, right back home. Not a bad trip by any means, but a tease of something more just out of reach.