September 2nd saw the debut release of Vian Izak’s EP Brink of Love which includes collaboration with such esteemed musicians as Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Eliza Ramgren.
Starting off the three song record, “World of Trouble” blasts with an energetic euphoria of blazing instrumentations before Izak’s mellow voice bleeds in cooing lyrics like “I’m not scared of what the future may bring/we’re all dust in the making/chasing dreams as we’re waking.” Izak’s voice is calming and soothing even on the more peppy explosive chorus. The melding of both quiet and more elaborate sounds all come together to create a unique experience, one that could certainly fit right at home in top 40 radio, while still maintaining an edge and indie credibility. It’s the best song on the album and the mainstream quality doesn’t detract anything from the tune, in fact it only shows one of the many sides of Izak.
“The Storm” features Eliza Ramgren as a guest vocalist and her mystical, ethereal performance is something out of a beautiful dream. Izak’s vocals never sound better than on this particular track matching Ramgren note for note, both complimenting each other. Ramgren mostly comes to play on the chorus and she fits in wonderfully with the sound of the tune. It all has a very Keane-like vibe which is displayed in the smoothness of Izak’s voice, but with the interweaving of a more eclectic instrumentation it catapults “The Storm” into a category all of its own, earthy and organic, yet with an electronic component. If listeners weren’t sure before, they will be sure upon hearing this track that Izak is an artist to keep their eyes and ears on in the future.
Closing out the album is the title track which features Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The gentle piano serves as the backdrop to the ballad giving it a soft and gentle feeling which compliments Izaks’s soothing voice as he sings “raise my spirit up/hate will never conquer love.” It’s a very simple song structurally, the chorus repeating one line over and over again but it is never over simplistic. The instrumentation is actually quite layered and Ladysmith Black Mambazo only serve to add depth to the track, bringing in an African sound that Izak fully embraces without letting it overpower the song. By the end of the tune when the two distinct sounds meld together it is something listeners should be an awe of.
There’s not a bad apple in the whole bunch, and the only complaint is that with only three songs on the EP listeners will be begging for more.