Izz - Sliver Of A Sun

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Doone
Catalog Number: DR1-2233
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:39:00

Izz's debut, Sliver Of A Sun, is an uneven affair, flitting between pop and prog, bridging the two nicely. Overall it's a good release, but a stronger release was to come with I Move.

What permeates the release is a close, intimate feel. The production puts everything "right there," as if they are close to the mikes, and perhaps in your very living room (or whatever room your stereo in). A lot of this feel is down to the naturalistic, "acoustic" feel the album has. That isn't to suggest that there is no electric guitar or keyboards on the album, there are - the brothers of Tom Galgano and John Galgano play most of the guitar parts (Paul Bremner at this time a guest on several tracks). The dual drum set up is in place here, however - Brian Corelian and Greg DiMiceli. But the feel is of an acoustic release. In spots, the production is a bit thin, as one wants a little more punch to the percussion, keys, bass (Philip Gaita).

In Izz's sound you can hear their proggy influences (sound) - a bit of Yes here and there, a bit of "classic" Genesis here and there (a thought I had in listening to "Assurance" for instance). And you can hear a bit of ELP in the instrumental "Double Bass" which features only one bass, but some parpy keyboards clearly influenced by the Emersonian attack style (as in Tarkus) with some jazz influences. A jazzy feel returns for part of "Razor," a piece that moves through many moods - beginning with a slow, plodding, rhythm, only to quicken for that jazzy bridge.

The first track, "Endless Calling" is a bit scattershot, the rhythm a bit convoluted to begin with. And yet you can hear the prog rock influence (arrangements) in those very convoluted rhythms. "I Get Lost" seems to trip over itself during the solo section where keyboards (Tom) are concerned. The mellow "Lornadoone" is a lyrically quirky track that includes flutes (Danielle Alteri), an acoustic western-Celtic rhythm, and a vaguely Yes-like feel at times. However, it also feels very much like modern American prog - a la Echolyn, Spock's Beard, etc. In fact, their sound has an easy smoothness that at times made me think a bit of the band America - in "Endless Calling" and in the almost alt-roots rock of "She Walked Out The Door" (shades of Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, et al). Like "Lornadoone" that precedes it, it's a mellow piece with an acoustic feel.

Tracks that stand out, and perhaps because one or two are a part of the band's set, are "Assurance," "Take It Higher," and "Where I Belong." "Assurance" has matured since the band recorded this album in 1998, the song now having a fuller and richer sound, at least live. Tom's "sweet" vocal delivery gives the song a lightness that belies the darkness of the lyrics. "Take It Higher" is a sunnier song with at times a Beatles feel; an artier Beatles feel comes in with the proggier "Meteor" that recalls "Instant Karma" (which is Lennon solo, I know) and the floatier textures of Porcupine Tree and, uh, Marillion. But would you expect anything other than floaty, ethereal textures (echoey vocals and shimmery keyboards) with lyrics like "Time and space, hold everything in place / Distance, it separates us"? (True ambience comes with the five minute or so outro to "Where I Belong" - a very classy moment, actually). There is a wild and widdy keyboard part to conclude "Take It Higher" that creates a great deal of excitement (a tad Emersonian). "Where I Belong" is notable not just because it is an interesting yet sparse piece, but because of the beautiful and lilting vocals of Altieri.

It's an album with much to recommend it, not so weighted by its influences that you can't hear the particular style of Izz. If you like current American prog, then you'll like Izz, too. They try to do a lot arrangement wise in each piece, which can be a times a challenge to follow though the pieces hang together nicely.

Endless Calling / I Get Lost / Lornadoone / She Walked Out The Door / Assurance / Take It Higher / Double Bass / Just A Girl / Meteor / Razor / Where I Belong

Tom Galgano - keyboards, vocals
John Galgano - guitar
Philip Gaita - bass
Brian Coralian - electronic & acoustic percussion, drums
Greg DiMiceli - drums

Sliver Of A Sun (1998)
I Move (2002)
Ampersand (2004)
My River Flows (2005)
Live At NEARfest (2007)
The Darkened Room (2009)
"Places To Hide" (2009)
"Red Rain" (2011)
Crush Of Night (2012)
Everlasting Instant (2015)
Ampersand Vol 2 (2016)

Izz Live (DVD) (2011)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: July 25th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.izznet.com
Hits: 1338
Language: english


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