‘don’t know’ by izbnd

It feels like only 33 days ago that I was listening to izbnd, the multi-talented artist from sunny California and… hold up, it was!

Well, izbnd is back with five more songs for your consideration.

On tj, the three-song release from early April, my main complaint was that the three songs didn’t hold together cohesively as they were in three different styles and izbnd‘s marvellous, sultry, jazz-singer vocal style didn’t quite fit in the punk aesthetic of one of the tracks.

So, tj felt more like a search for musical identity, rather than a mission-statement that stood up proudly and screamed, THIS IS IZBND.

Criticism aside, you can hear that there is something special about izbnd in tj, especially for me in the country-ish ‘u were mine’ and the pop-grunge of ‘i will drag u down’ which I’m still listening to a month later.

But that was then, and this is now. How does don’t know compare to last month’s release?

Firstly, we need to talk about the cover and more specifically, that face and those tired eyes.

This is the face of someone who is tired of COVID-19’s bullshit.

These are the eyes of someone who needs you to wear a mask outdoors please, to protect everyone, but they keep seeing you on social media hanging out in the park with your friends as the death-toll rises day by day.

This is the face of 2020 and those are the eyes that watch the world burn.

A gloom that perfectly echoes the sentiment of that face hangs over almost every note of don’t know. even the title doesn’t know how to respond to this crisis.

What do we do now?

Don’t know.

Opener ‘wasting time’ makes superb use of izbnd’s distinctive, smokey vocals in a song that floats through your ears leaving images of imaginary jazz-clubs, whiskey cocktails and lava lamps.

Next, things get distinctly more rock and roll with ‘idek’ . Descending power chords pull you in and shake you up. There is an excellent fusion here of grungey, 90s alternative rock and izbnd’s jazz-singer style here which despite some questionable lyric choices – “I thought that you were cool, but all you do is drool” – chugs along nicely.

My favourite track here, ‘quarantine!‘ is a full-throttle breakdown which is like catharsis in song-form. All the frustration and rage boiling inside izbnd from being stuck in quarantine during the current pandemic, is spilled out into the song. It feels raw, personal and intimate and it really, really works.

‘ptrckstr’ showcases some excellent guitar work which recall the best work of The Smashing Pumpkins and really pulls you into its fuzzy world of Spongebob characters and grunge.

Closer ‘spain song’ is another stand-out track, perfectly marrying izbnd’s broad selection of influences into a quietly sad, introspective song that slides along and then – poof – it’s gone, stopping abruptly and leaving you wanting more.

While you can still feel that izbnd hasn’t quite settled on a style or sound that is distinctly and definitively theirs, you can clearly hear that don’t know is an exciting step forward for izbnd, better distilling an incredibly diverse set of influences into a cohesive whole that says loudly and proudly, “I’m here, I’m stuck inside, fuck Coronavirus and listen to my music.”

Give it a listen for yourself by hitting ‘play’ at the top of this page, and consider throwing some support izbnd’s way on Bandcamp here.

don’t know is available on all good streaming services now.

You can find izbnd and all their endeavours by following the links on this page right over here.

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