In the extended play Leo’s Guitar, Izzie’s Caravan explore the basics of blues-rock with an old fashioned swagger that isn’t easy to come by in the genre these days. Songs like the pendulous “Lightnins-A-Howlin’” and “Dorian’s Lament,” which make up one-half of the record’s tracklist, aren’t adorned with pointless fluff and absurdly complicated variations on a classic theme. Rather than merely bringing the framework of OG blues-rock into high definition stereo sound, Izzie’s Caravan experiment with the swing of the rhythm, the poeticisms of the rhymes, and the tone of their attack in a fashion that would be too intimidating for some rivals to replicate.
As vintage in structure as the title cut and “Two in the Bush” feel, there’s nothing in Leo’s Guitar that I would go as far as to deem a throwback. The production style is very forward-thinking, and though the songwriting is less than progressive (save for the alternative rock-infused “Dorian Lament’s”), it doesn’t seem out of touch with the contemporary pop beat at all. It’s difficult to make a blues record that feels fresh amidst the droves of new releases the genre enjoys from year to year, but nevertheless, that’s exactly what Izzie’s Caravan are pulling off in this EP.
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I love the percussive depth in “Dorian’s Lament,” and I think that it adds a moodiness to the fretwork up front that simply wouldn’t have been here otherwise. Some acts are more than content to varnish specific flash points of melodicism in their sound rather than taking the time to spread the love around the mix, but that isn’t the case with this band. These players care about subtlety, and more importantly, magnifying evocative elements and concepts that most would just as soon ignore, in the studio or anywhere else. Izzie’s Caravan care about substance, and they make that pretty obvious in Leo’s Guitar.
The title track in this EP didn’t need any lyrical content to get its point across to us – in fact, I think trying to throw words into this one would have made the song a little aesthetically overwhelming. The lead guitar is doing all the talking in this track, and when taking into account just how rare textural expressiveness has become in any realm of the rock universe as of late, this could qualify as being the most profoundly special (and exciting) song to you’ll find on the record.
To put it as simply as the harmonies in “Lightnins-A-Howlin’” do, six-string disciples can’t beat this extravagant effort from Izzie’s Caravan. Leo’s Guitar is a fun extended play that has all of the meat and muscle of a full-length studio album, and though it’s probably not going to be the only record this band releases to a warm reception from critics like myself, it’s a good standard-setter just the same. This is definitely a band worth keeping on your radar, and if you haven’t already done so, give this EP a close listen over the season. It’s a memorable affair, and that’s putting it quite mildly.