Felicia Harding has the voice of a Disney princess – and she’s coming to claim her alternative rock crown. Her warm, sweet voice hits every note flawlessly, with her vocals inspired by the likes of Björk, Heart, The Cranberries, Stevie Nicks, and Kate Bush. Surrounding her is the sound of bass-driven synth, intricate guitar riffs and thunderous drum beats, inspired by No Doubt, Florence + the Machine, and Metric. This is Isobel Trigger.
The Victoria-based band’s members and their self-proclaimed titles are Felicia Harding (vocals/keys/hair-tossing), Brett Faulkner (lead guitar/cross-dressing), Kyle Lowther (bass/back-up dancing), and Ariel Tseng (drums/face-making). They describe themselves as “indie alternative pop rock”, which seems ultra-specific, but is actually a good attempt to describe the genre they fall under.
To truly map out all of Isobel Trigger’s influences would take serial killer-like determination, with a very large wall and a never-ending supply of string to connect them all. Their songs are almost orchestral and could easily be used to score a film. Instead of the throaty, husky voices that usually accompany such cinematic beats, Felicia chirps like Snow White, giving the band a unique sound.
The band’s first album, Island (2009) received airplay throughout Canada, and the single “Nightmares” was nominated at the Vancouver Island Music Awards.
At first listen, it’s tempting to compare Isobel Trigger to a mix CD. The songs sound familiar, as if you heard them ten years ago and are just remembering them now. “Nightmares” sounds like classic ’90s grunge girl rock and “By the Light of the Moon” can be momentarily mistaken for a Cranberries song.
If Island could be compared to a ’90s mix CD, their new album can be compared to an iTunes playlist. Their upcoming EP, Nocturnal, is to be released July 29th of 2014. The five-track album includes their recently released singles “Dust and Bones” and “Tiger Shark”. Now that they’ve conquered the 1990s aesthetic, it appears the band is moving towards the future. Their new album explores a new, synth direction with danceable beats, while still retaining similarity to Island with the tracks still diverse enough for the album to feel like a mix.
The single “Dust and Bone” is the first track on Nocturnal. The sci-fi music video for the single seems to appropriately capture the ethereal quality of the song. At first it seems like a dime-a-dozen club song – until the first psychedelic guitar riff hits.
The first listen of this album is a roller-coaster filled with anticipation and surprise. Each individual song jumps from genre to genre, stopping only occasionally before blending it together into one rising crescendo.
The second single on the album is “Tiger Shark”. It sounds like Metric, if Metric was always fronted by Brie Larson à la Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The shiny beats of “Champion” sound like a more mature version of a Paramore song. “Sugar Cube” introduces a sultry Felicia and minimalist hip-hop beat that give Lana Del Rey a run for her money. The track evolves instrumentally from a lounge-act to an indie rock song comparable to Mother Mother’s Bit by Bit.
“Carry On” somehow manages to combine a Eurythmics-style beat with a twanging guitar to create what sounds like Adele covering Carrie Underwood. On the first listen, you’re sure you’ve heard these songs before. On a second listen, you know you’ve never heard anything like it before.
Isobel Trigger lures you in with beats that invoke a sense of déjà vu before surprising you with a psychedelic riff, piercing wail, or synth beat. Each song is a completely new experience, yet tinged with nostalgia. Once you’ve had time to appreciate their sound, Isobel Trigger’s music stops sounding like a mix CD and starts to feel more like a greatest hits album.
Check out Isobel Trigger!
Author: Sarah Gordier