Nov 15

Isolation Division – Sotto Voce

by Edward, Filed under: Reviews

Isolation Division is the solo project of Mat Thorpe.  Mr. Thorpe is the bassist with Northern Punks, The Dangerous Aces, Distorted Pictures, and he actually performed as the  bassist for The March Violets reunion gig in Leeds 2007.  Ah, I knew there had to be a connection to the Goth scene in there somewhere.  But “Sotto Voce” is not precisely Gothic. Though I discern some influences from Joy Divison in there, the CD reminds me much more of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and the Comsat Angels, with an updated Indie kind of feel at the same time.

The short, somewhat eerie l introduction of “Sotto Voice”  leads directly into   “Merry Go Round (My Spring Will Come)” which is perhaps my favorite song on the CD.  With wall-of-sound jangly post-punk guitars and subtle tribal percussion that hovers right under the impeccably layered vocals, this is a phenomenal song that simply grips the listener before ending with a spate of drumming and appropriate carnival effects.   This song has run through my head for days at a time.

“Cross My Heart” is a bit heavier.  Quite edgy, nearly deathrock guitar and frantic drumming support the superb vocals. Unexpectedly, sharp guitar riffs jar the listener out of their comfort zone , and then the sond fades on an disquieting note.   “Valentine” has lower, ominous vocals, complimented by the darker tone of the guitars.  A guitar solo mid-way through the song strikes at exactly the right moment.  This is a very visceral song, tinged with regret, yet powerful a the same time.

Next is a fine cover of “Tears” by the Chameleons.  Jaunty and soaring,  yet profound at the same tine, the song is driven by steady percussion and layered guitars.  A bit more dramatic, “Triad”  has some rather epic sounding riffs interspersed among nearly spoken vocals.  “Mr. Magpie”  is more bass driven, with very cool slide  effects and vocals that are intense without being strident.

“Winter Walking”  is very evocative, with swirling electro effects and understated guitar that suddenly emerges from out from under the intense vocals.   The song ends with  the evocative echo of footsteps.     “I can feel your heartbeat pounding…“        Next, “Mother” begins with wonderfully slow guitar, and slightly distorted vocals. The echoey effect of the vocals and the slow, yet razor sharp guitar lend a disquieting air, which is then  heightened by whispered vocals and the eerie sounds of a baby crying.

“Sotto Voce” is an incredible CD that becomes more profound with each listen.  The arrangements are masterfully done,  and each song is mesmerizing in it’s own way.  This CD is highly recommended for fans of post-punk, Indie, and anyone who appreciates well crafted music.

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4 Comments so far

  1. Mat November 16th, 2011 5:11 am

    Hey Aiden, Cheers for the review, it’s very much appreciated:-)


  2. Album reviews | Isolation Division November 16th, 2011 7:42 am

    [...] ““Sotto Voce” is an incredible CD that becomes more profound with each listen. The arrangements are masterfully done, and each song is mesmerizing in it’s own way. This CD is highly recommended for fans of post-punk, Indie, and anyone who appreciates well crafted music.” – Midnight Calling [...]

  3. [...] review at This entry was posted in Music by Isolated. Bookmark the [...]

  4. Martbert January 17th, 2012 9:18 pm

    If I was so eloquent, I would have written the same review. This is an album that must and will be heard, there is so much life breathed and lived into it that it will live for itself…

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