I first met Izzy B back in the Ukulele Festival of Scotland, and I consider her a truly underrated songwriter with a voice of raw power. The New Romney native impressed with her debut album Growing Pains, and after an agonizing 18 month wait, the delays were finally worth it.
The opening Rocks brings forth a sense of curiosity and wonder, as Izzy musically relishes in the wholesome qualities of ukulele pop musicians like Vance Joy or 21 Pilots while still carrying her unique charm. Songs like Plain Sailing immerse you into her world; a world that has tragically been met with bereavement over the past 12 months. Her dedicatory songs tug greatly at the heartstrings as her calm and relaxed strumming wades like a boat on the ocean, and her voice carries such pain that it can’t help but move you, especially with lines like:
“I hope you’re sitting across the open sea in a boat for only you. I hope you’ve got your glass of wine, your glass will never be empty”
The album isn’t devoid of upbeat music though, as songs like Oh My Girl and Pretend carry great hooks and a spirit that uplifts you while your toes tap away.
Recorded in a home studio in Kent, Opia definitely feels like a passion project, which I have seen first-hand in Izzy’s enthusiasm over her music. Production-wise she explores the soundscape with her tasteful uses of synth and apropos sound effects to create picturesque audio atmospheres, even if the lo-fi homemade elements of the recording can be distracting.
Opia is described as “the ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable”, and Izzy B channels this vulnerability with her fragile melodies that reach to you while simultaneously bearing her soul. 7.5/10
Opia will be released on April 16th, but in the meantime you can keep up to date with Izzy B here