Soundcheck: Isrobel – Sun Spinner
By Mykel Vernon-Sembach
Album: Sun Spinner
Genre: Progressive Funk Rock
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Best Tracks: “Anger”, “Sun Spinner”
Many say that Flagstaff is a musician’s town, but like most other small cities, music makers have a hard time standing out in the Northern Arizona crowd. This is even more difficult when the genre-du-jour for Flagstaff is jam bands and funk/soul. Luckily for native three-piece band, Isrobel, they had no trouble impressing locals of this small train-track town. Chad Breen (vocals and guitar), Chase Reed (bass) and Joe Sweet (drums) bring the best of the coast to the Ponderosa Pines and echoes classic 311, Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers. While their early tracks scattered about phone-recorded live performances and social media music players and a freshman release (Warpaint), they have finally collected their efforts into their newest sophomore release, Sun Spinner, as of Friday, Aug. 17 at the Green Room.
Their first track, “Au Naturale” starts with a White Stripes bass and ‘70s psych vocals that seep like smoke through one ear and out the other, wrapping itself around the brain and infusing it with the audible sense of nag champa, falafel mix and patchouli. They ride this psychedelic rock wave all the way to the fourth track, “Anger” illustrating the vocalist’s control over his voice, switching from classic rock to reggae dub and creating a large variability within this 12-track album (making for every track a pleasant surprise). “Ease A Troubled Mind” reminds local music nuts with an essence of Jazz & Liquor with their fast-paced beat and deep, whiskey-stained vocals make for a quickstep jig at a live performance.
But it is their title track, “Sun Spinner,” that is the real show stopper. A 4-minute, 31-second nostalgic composition of the ‘90s: simple, cleverly repetitive lyrics (“you are tea over ice / a person I could meet that would help me change my life…sun spinner / spin around me / celestial body / sun spinner singe my shoulders / with loving spirals”), singer/songwriter husked vocals, and tribal rhythms.
“Taste For Feel” sounds as though it was made during Flagstaff’s monsoon season, a mellow “stay indoors” kind of day; like John Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland” without sounding as cheesy or tacky.
This album recalls the end of a perfect day at the beach, the drive home from a late-night concert, the ultimate comedown from a natural high, the comedown of the summertime blues. Sun Spinner is the perfect back-to-school, soothe-your-soul album for the timid freshmen crowd just getting to know their new college town or a street-smart senior just looking for the soundtrack to their senioritis.
Isrobel will be opening up for Asher Roth and Yellowcard at the Welcome Week Concert for NAU students only. The concert will be held at the Wall Aquatic Field across from the Health and Learning Center Saturday, Aug. 25 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Student ID and ticket are required at entry.