Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

Isaac Gracie – Running On Empty

Based on your score I’d say you’re more half-empty (or half-full for you optimists out there)…


Alfred Soto: Those chords and lyrics and that singing keep the title promise.

Ian Mathers: On his starker songs Gracie sometimes hits on a weirdly palatable mix somewhere between, say, Damien Rice and Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody; here, with the sliders nudged towards the power pop end of the spectrum, some Ryan Adams starts peeking through as well. If it’s an earworm, it’s a modest one, but hear it when you’re out with friends at the bar enough and it’ll probably start generating fond pangs of nostalgia at some point.

Ryo Miyauchi: Isaac Gracie’s take on preppy pop-rock from the start of the ’10s lands somewhere in the middle not so much from it sporting a commonplace pop sound, but from how it’s now easy to spot why exactly this style grew tiresome after years of exposure. His gestures for unrequited desire come off too rehearsed, and his lines are too cleanly written to genuinely feel a sense of turbulence.

Will Adams: The music’s sunnier elements — tambourine jangle, synths fluting in the background — seem at odds with Isaac Gracie’s scraggly roar, but that dissonance is hard to ignore when there’s so little else to invest you. Especially not that weak woah-oh chorus.

Iain Mew: Taking the whole quicksilver jangle Two Door Bicycle Club thing and adding in heavier vocals and sounds is a counter-intuitive move when weightlessness was the biggest asset for those songs. Even Gracie’s limited gruffness does feel like needless excess, but the furious guitar playing gives a better bite.

Julian Axelrod: Isaac Gracie is a cypher. He’s a British singer with the voice of a classic Heartland heartbreaker. He’s an old-fashioned crooner whose Killers-esque power ballads play to the nosebleeds. He sounds like the Vaccines decided to clean up their act and get that Riverdale money. He’s fascinating as a microcosm of rock in 2018, but for a guy who traffics in heart-on-sleeve belters, he’s a bit too inscrutable to fully connect.

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