"Til We Reach The Sun" by Izzie DerryReview
Released today is the latest Izzie Derry single, which is called "Til We Reach The Sun".
For those who have been following Izzie over the years and marked her progress as a musician, there have been so many small incremental developmental steps & the occasional whole paradigm shift: such as forming a full band & starting to play electric guitar. With this single, Izzie has arguably asked of her audience the biggest question she has yet in inviting them to continue on her journey with her.
Taken from her upcoming album, like the previous single, "I Don't Know Why" which we reviewed for you back in January, unlike that song, which could still be performed live by Izzie in her classic solo with acoustic guitar mode (and indeed I've heard her do so myself), "Til We Reach The Sun" is probably not one she could play for us in that way: we are definitely now moving into territory where her previous work will lie in that one category & newer material will exist only in the realm of her band format: quite probably the choice of the last single was intended as a transitional release in order to help us cope.
And I for one am delighted to witness her moving forwards. Were every song she creates in the mode she's been working in, it would devalue their excellence through repetition. Instead we get variety & diversity, neither of which are to be taken lightly, even if they can ask questions, and the Izzie of 2023 is clearly asking a lot of questions of the world & the people in it, judging by her current repertoire.
As anyone following her will know, her own journey via relocation, study & working with a variety of new collaborators across the country has offered her such a wide range of experiences & inspirations to inform her creativity, so one can hardly be surprised at the resulting music.
The first impression one gets from the opening bars of "Til We Reach The Sun" is how much listening to other musicians Izzie must have done of late: and we are not talking of the folk genre here either.
The opening (keyboard led) passage sounds far more like Supertramp than Fairport Convention and then you could possibly detect influences ranging from fellow Coventry musicians The Primitives (especially in the title & melodic groove) to Elvis Costello (think of 2004's "Monkey To Man" in terms of lyrical theme relationships). What a rich stew of sounds, yet Izzie transcends whatever may (possibly) have inspired her to create something uniquely her own: and like what she's been sharing with us of late, it's a very principled and defiant Izzie on show: not quite as angry as on the last single (which dealt principally with a personal betrayal rather than the broader cultural issues here) but one just as prepared to go to the barricades for what she believes in. Though the movement in that direction would be quite a funky one given the tone of the music, which as I say grooves along nicely, showcasing the touch & skills of the band she's now been working with for several years: long enough to build the trust in each other to make music as surefooted as this.
The tone, being an Izzie Derry song, manages to remain optimistic for the future, despite the shortcomings of the present: though she advocates action to achieve change & indeed urges the song's listeners to join with her. She has faith in our capacity to do so, but especially in the central role of women in the processes involved. To this end, the song is also a celebration of womanhood: its release on International Women's Day 2023 is I'm sure no coincidence (it's her second explicit nod to IWD after 2020's "Fire") and as she puts it herself: "..I'm lucky to be surrounded by really incredible, loving, strong women and I hope you enjoy my tribute to them. .."
Ultimately, all artists experience (suffer?) the tendency of all sorts of people from some in the media to those who organise record shops to feel more comfortable assigning genre labels to them. I recorded annA rydeR's thoughts on being seen as a "folk musician" when the music she plays & writes only occasionally meets that description when I reviewed her live performance last week. Izzie is now sailing on the same boat as annA and I suspect will always been popped into the "folk section" irrespective of what a given song actually sounds like. Much as I enjoyed the violin part in the extended coda (I'm guessing it's courtesy of Gabija Kasiliauskaite), that was probably the only "folk" aspect of "Til We Reach The Sun": it's not a "folk song", it's a song outside boundaries & Izzie is no longer a "folk singer", she's a fully rounded artist and this song is a highly significant one for her career as a whole in addition to being so compelling in its own right.
There is a video out for the single which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMENtoKftlc