Hailing from San Francisco, An Isotope formed in 2007. Their debut, Glass Bridges, finds An Isotope refining an art pop sound that is as immersive and seemingly fraught over as it is downright enjoyable to listen to. Inventive guitar hooks, glacially huge synth, stately piano, and a propulsive rhythm section form the pieces of a dazzling new sonic mosaic, a sound indebted to indie rock, shoegaze, and surf rock with touches of IDM electronics. Like each of Broken Social Scene’s instrumentals, particularly the electrifying “Meet Me in the Basement” and gossamer “Pacific Theme,” much off of Glass Bridges forges an intense emotional connection with its audience in the absence of vocals.
Take for instance album closer “Pain of a Whale,” which begins with a spidery guitar sighing four somber chords. The marriage of this arresting guitar sequence with a jagged Rn’B groove produces a melancholic opening to an otherwise rousingly uplifting soundtrack. If there is a common element to each song on Glass Bridges, it is An Isotope’s ability to alternately swell and simmer with sprawling arrangements awash with extended intros, outros, and pitch-perfect bridges before peaking with a breathtaking coda, proving you are always a breakdown away from a life-affirming guitar solo.
Thrilling, heart-pounding moments like these abound in Glass Bridges, from blinding, atmospheric guitar trill (“Still Pale”) to the simultaneously wild and sophisticated gallop of drums (“City to City”), each part commits to An Isotope’s unabashed vow, to create a sonic union that sounds like everything else and yet nothing else.
released 15 March 2011
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