Since emerging singer/songwriter IZ.M.B.’s second album, the edgy, hard hitting coming of age confessional Nowhere Town, came out at roughly the same time and on the same label (Blue Collar Records), as Blow Your Mind by Gorilla Apocalypse – a trio featuring her as lead singer – it was 50/50 as to which might be listened to first. For me, it was the incredibly soulful and seductive GA, which gave me the impression that this enigmatic young artist was a wise beyond her years pop/soul singer.
She begins “Six Feet Away,” the opening track to Nowhere Town, with a bit of the same angelic vocal grace – and then, like a tough, brutal but absolutely heartfelt and soul essential gut punch, the blistering guitars of Doug Gallo take over and she reveals her true colors as a rock singer. To realize upon further research that she’s a recent high school graduate and currently a music production and sound engineering is truly mind-blowing.
Maybe with the exception of Billie Eilish – a superstar of IZ.M.B’s generation that the latter can sound a bit like in her more delicate moments – it’s extraordinary to discover this level of passionate fire, world weary wisdom and maturity in someone of that age. Once we embrace the reality that we’re dealing with a wizened old soul – even as she cleverly keeps both her true identity and her eyes hidden, as if to make us wonder still – we can just enjoy the fiery show that she refers to as her ”personal diary,” with each song serving as an entry, and meaningful entry point for the listener. At her age, a few years makes a world of difference when it comes to worldview, so the hard wirings of Nowhere Town come from a completely different (and pandemic isolation influenced) place than her lighter hearted debut Blue Collar Romeo.
Highlights include the infectious, hard driving pop/rocker “Breakout,” the sparse and spacious, reverb happy reflection “Never Trust A Junkie,” the elegant and airy power ballad “Sadly Beautiful” and two amazeballs tracks featuring the soaring jazzy trumpet of Grace Fox. These include the album’s unforgettable lead single “Recover (an anthem about struggling to accept then being cool with heartbreak, which could easily double as a getting through the pandemic romp) and the punchy, percussive moodswinger “Stigmata.”