Sunday, 6 April 2008

INTERVIEW: Isosceles

In the overtly verbose world of modern-day music journalism there’s an adjective that rears its grubby heid time and time again. It’s a word that, according to The Oxford English Dictionary’ trusty conglomeration of morphemes, has little pertinence to the creation of melody, but amidst the music industry’s ink-smudged pages it’s an omnipresent, siren-screeching indication of a specific sound. The offending word is of course ‘Angular’. The sound? Turbo-charged Post-Punk Pop - or something.

Armed with a scattershot of chiselled guitar jerks, hyperventilating drum splutters and a name that hardly suggests horizontal linearity, it was perhaps inevitable that Glasgow quartet Isosceles would be quickly scurried in with the radian contorting ‘It’ crowd since forming at the back end of 2006. So, armed with both protractor and a dusted down Secondary School physics text, The Skinny catches up with keyboardist William Aikman to uncover whether there’s a certain *cough* degree of truth to the media’s eager-beavered pigeon-holing.

“Aye, we get a lot of comments about how our sound is ‘angular’ but it’s not an intentional thing at all,” he says despairingly. "Musically, we don’t want to be lumbered in with anything, but once it’s out there and people are writing about it it’s not up to us what they say about us anymore. We just want to get on with what we’re doing and hopefully make a bit of a success out of it if we can.”


Success is beginning to come easily to this fledgling ensemble of university chums who initially converged for a friend’s birthday party in Aberdeenshire (intriguingly entitled ‘Muckfest’). Having released their riotously infectious debut A-side Get Your Hands Off/I Go in August last year to an ambuscade of praise, the group were hand picked by, some time Guardian food critic and art-chic chieftain, Alex Kapranos to support Franz Ferdinand on an 8 gig Scottish tour. And after mingling with such indie-pop glitterati it seems Isosceles have developed a taste for the golden crusted cracknel of stardom:

“I think [playing with Franz Ferdinand] was the point where we thought ‘actually, we can do this full-time’,” William states assuredly. “It was obviously a professional operation they were running and it was our first introduction to a proper tour where it was really busy and we had professional equipment to use. So in that way we’re doing a little bit better handling the practicalities of touring and things… At the beginning we did it for a bit of fun but now we’re taking it a lot more seriously and writing songs with a lot more of a purpose.”

But as a sardine-crushed smorgasbord of Glasgow bands currently catches the eye of the nation’s salivating A&R men what is it that makes Isosceles unique? “I’m not sure if any one thing does,” says William. “Maybe we are just another Glasgow band but I think that all the Glasgow bands, certainly the ones that are fairly successful, are completely different from each other. I think the thing about it is that you have to be unique and have your own style and if you don’t the Glasgow record-buying public aren’t going to be too impressed – in this city you can’t reproduce anyone in order to succeed.”

A radiant blush of Hammond keys and jinking riffs, new single Kitch Bitch doesn’t quite fill a swag-bag with the triumphant sounds of West-Coast dwelling luminaries past but it certainly tips its head to the likes of Orange Juice, Franz and 1990s. So how are we categorising-crazed hacks going to describe the sound of Isosceles in future? Sharply drawing breath for a brief second of comedic timing, William quips knowingly: “I dunno. Angular maybe?”

First Published here

Photos by Loraine Ross

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