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Isaac Gracie - Isaac Gracie (Album Review)

Monday, 16 April 2018 Written by Liam Turner

Isaac Gracie has been a hot topic ever since he uploaded a bare bones demo of Last Words to Soundcloud back in 2015. It became a slow-burn internet hit, with the young indie-folk troubadour quickly declared to be the new Jeff Buckley, or even Bob Dylan. But he had just a handful of tunes under his belt and had barely set foot on a stage. Were the claims ill-founded?

Well, with a couple of years spent touring and a debut record finally out, it seems Gracie is more of a James Bay than a Jeff Buckley. And that's a good thing - if you’re his label, Virgin EMI. His self-titled bow is stuffed with a bevy of surefire radio-friendly hits, with pretty much every track given the X Factor treatment.

Their bare bones have been coated with countless layers of strings, keys, backing vocals and reverb. And, for a folksy minimalist like Gracie, such a move is really quite unnecessary.

Last Words, for instance, starts off perfectly well here, with nothing but Gracie’s beguilingly jaunty vocal and a wonderfully woody acoustic guitar. But it doesn’t take long before all the bells, whistles and kitchen sinks are thrown in.

It’s a shame because the song itself is achingly beautiful, offering up some of Gracie’s most well-written and poignant lyrics: “If you only want the woman you see on TV / Then your eyes are open but you just can’t seem.” That line is especially sticky, but all the pomp and fluff only distracts from the overall sentiment.

When You Go, one of many laments for a past love, is probably the closest we get to hearing Gracie at his most pure. For the most part, it’s just a couple of acoustic guitars, a bit of percussion and some vocals, but it shows just how much his songs are able to shine when they’re stripped back to the essentials. It wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Everly Brothers record.

Gracie isn’t quite in the same league as the Everly Brothers, though. Or Buckley or Dylan for that matter. But, given the time and space to create and cultivate, away from the prying eyes of industry bigwigs, perhaps he could one day get close.

Isaac Gracie Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon April 16 2018 - YORK Crescent
Tue April 17 2018 - SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Wed April 18 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Fri April 20 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute2 Birmingham
Sat April 21 2018 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Sun April 22 2018 - NORWICH Arts Centre
Mon April 23 2018 - BRISTOL Thekla
Wed April 25 2018 - BRIGHTON Haunt
Thu April 26 2018 - LONDON Hackney Empire

Click here to compare & buy Isaac Gracie Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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