Track Review: Isaac Waddington: Bright Skies

‘With captivating soul and goosebump-inducing greatness, the musicality shines brighter than ever.’

Intro to Isaac Waddington
Releasing his debut EP ‘Borselli’ in 2018 and a flurry of singles since, it’s clear that Isaac Waddington isn’t a one trick pony when it comes to creating great tracks. And neither is he one to pigeon hole himself into one area. Sure there are many artists who you could say this about, however, even if you take just two of his 2019 releases – lets say the jazz standard-esque sound of ‘Let Me Into Your Heart’ and the full-on funk funhouse of ‘Hit the Ceiling’ you really get an idea of his versatility. It’s little wonder then that in Isaac turning to showcase soul for his latest track that his musicality shines brighter than ever.  

Track Review
Combining lilting high-hat triplets and accented snare rim-shots with selective piano, ‘Bright Skies’ instantly brings nostalgia and romanticism in equal measures. It’s delicate, soothing and restrained but in delivering a wonderful sense of momentum, the clearest of images fill your mind. Images of near empty ballrooms. Images of couples completely in love. And images of those same couples dancing like they are the only ones in there. Above these instrumental elements though, the soft soul of Isaac’s vocal does the storytelling in the most beautiful of ways.

Giving space to the lyrics – space where the harmonic changes really shine through – a huge sense of reflection quickly becomes apparent. Reflection is of course something that can be achieved in a multitude of ways depending on what the underlying story is. Passion and anger can sometimes seem incredibly similar. Loss and loving equally so. But the most effective forms are where the intent comes across without thought. And this is exactly how these opening lines feel. They don’t flow fully. Nor are they disjointed. Instead, with them being set as they are, they feel completely honest and heartfelt and although early in track, it’s a real indication of what we can expect as we listen further.

Reaching the second part of this extended verse, the initial signs of vocal and instrumental soul really begin to take hold with growing confidence. Building on the previous harmonies, distant Wurlitzer chords shimmer stylishly enhancing the overall sound of the accompaniment, while Isaac’s vocal becomes filled with real moments of goosebump-inducing greatness. At points this occurs through gentle hums and throwaway phrase endings. But at others it’s when, apparently out of nowhere, his vocal soars above everything. And boy does it effortlessly soar!

Initially hinted at on the line of ‘But these water’s still, they still run deep’ you can tell that Isaac has more to give and you want to accept it. Therefore when he takes off into the chorus lyric of ‘Come and see the night light turning into day’, and follows up with Come and see the bright skies cutting through the rain’ you’re captivated at every possible opportunity. However, while there is no doubting the vocal beauty, in those Wurlitzer chords bursting through and powerful vocal harmonies forming a call and response with the main lines, the whole experience is truly beautiful.

Touchingly returning to the feel prior to the soulful drama, we get the most wonderful reminder of the softness Isaac holds within. Honestly, after those few moments of power it’s easy to forget that side. But in once again proving his prowess for perfect lyric setting, the delicately descending nature of the phrase ‘But I’ll find my way’ feels thought-filled and offers a wonderful moment of gentle reflection away from the passion. Taking this a stage further, moving through the following verse noticeable changes occur to ensure that it isn’t a simple rewrite of the first.

Sure there are similarities – it would be rare not to have some – but in beautifully blending the impassioned soul with the early restraint, you really feel that in this single length verse, you’re actually getting double the musicality. Take the way that the most delicate of picked arpeggios feel wonderfully reflective and the bass lines mimic vocal elements as just two examples. However, if you want to feel like you’re getting even more than that, the overwhelming power offered by the closing showcase chorus will give you exactly that.

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