Possession with Intent
Isabelle’s Gift Label
8 out of 10
South Carolina’s ISABELLE’S GIFT have been described as ’The second most dangerous band in the world’. Their ‘balls out’ raw energy approach to hard rock is very reminiscent of early Guns & Roses. And with their lyrical content wavering between illicit drug use, child molestation, rampant self immolation and desecration, titty bars, cocaine pentagrams, lascivious worship of the female form and orgiastic liquor consumption, it’s really no wonder they wear that tag as a badge of honor.
Their latest album, Possession with Intent, isn’t just another Isabelle’s Gift album; it is a middle finger to the state of rock and roll. It’s a .45 caliber bullet to your temple. It’s everything a good hard rock album should be, and then some.
Upon first listen, as the opening track Million Dollar Joke begins, you may think to yourself, ‘Self, why is Nickelback blaring from my speakers?’ And you wouldn’t be far off. The opening riff could be pulled right off the latest Nickelback disc. And this isn’t a bad thing, as it is a killer riff; it just grabbed me immediately and made me check to make sure I put the right disc in my stereo. Even after the bass and drums kick in, it still doesn’t quite have that IG signature sound to it, until it breaks down, and as Chris Sutton’s voice comes in, you sit back, relax, and begin the descent into monster swinging riffs, and a cavalcade of madness, piss, and vinegar from one of rock’s unheralded best frontmen out there today.
While Million Dollar Joke may be a pleasant ‘slight’ departure for the band, Sonofabitch is 100% born and bred Isabelle’s Gift fare. I hate to say ‘classic guitar sound’ of Kyle and James because most of you have sadly never even heard of IG until right now. But the tone, the riffs, the rawness is all IG and for those of us privileged enough to be in the know for several years, it has become a signature sound.
Sonofabitch and 88 show the anger and venom that boil beneath the surface of the best of Isabelle’s Gift’s music. From the strung out junkie redneck vibe to the white trash romance gone bad, to the simple misunderstood man standing amongst the shit hole that is his life somehow; the music is a bombastic rock and roll soundtrack to the glorious highs and lows of being at times simultaneously high and low.
It seems impossible to do at times, and not many can do it as well as IG, but from one lyrical line to the next they can celebrate the excesses of music and drugs, of tittybar superstars and pill head rockstars, the highest highs that only succeed in bringing on the lowest of the lows. The band doesn’t glorify the lifestyle they may lead and or portray in their music, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there is some sick and twisted shit going on in lead singer Chris Sutton’s head to bring out a song such as Edward 40 Hands or Lazy Suzan.
The nihilistic excesses of rock and roll are alive and well and the band named after a sexually transmitted disease is flying their scars, demons, and drive high, loud, and proud. Nothing exceeds like excess and Isabelle’s Gift is here to prove that creed.
My only complaint is that the second half of the album is/was their last EP. So if you are already following the band, then you are only getting what amounts to two EPs. Bubblegum Diesel (Sunnshine, Kill the Cheerleader, Save the World, and West Virginia) then 4 new songs, (Million Dollar Joke, 88, Sonofabitch, and Haulin’ Oats and Ass) and a reworked Edward 40 Hands off their last full length album American Idol.
Still, all told, the nine songs that make up Possession with Intent are better than almost anything you are listening to right now. And sure as shit it is 100 times better than ‘the most dangerous band in the world’s’ Chinese Democracy.
Yes, while this should really be considered an EP of new music, it will surely be on my top ten list of albums for 2011. Because even 4 new Isabelle’s Gift songs are better than no Isabelle’s Gift and because they are better than EVERYTHING you can hear on FM radio today.
Download Possession with Intent on amazon.com and iTunes today. You’ll thank me later.
For more Isabelle’s Gift click here.