Mention a New York City rock-and-roll band that is fastly emerging towards the forefront of the music scene and you will find lazy critics jumping on the Strokes-comparison bandwagon. Fortunately, The Izzys don't sound over-produced through a Casio-keyboard like Casablancas and his colleagues, and have more technical respect to their musical roots. The three-piece band, fronted by principal singer-songwriter Mike Storey, expand upon their debut EP release Fast And Out Of Control with a full, self-titled album, and there's no denying it - The Izzys is the best Rolling Stones album released in the last twenty or so years, and Sir Mick and Keith are nowhere near it.
We're talking Rolling Stones post-Altamont; almost exactly at the midway blues point of Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St, a point in which they were allowing a slick-studio-polish to their guitar work to further remove themselves from the Klein era, with added dirty blues riffs and tight musicianship replacing raw, often grungey mono singles. Listen to The Izzys on your stereo and you will think you are standing next to the front of their stage. What makes them sound so fresh, and more importantly so exciting, is their ability to fully indulge in rock virtuosity without the need to overdo the noise-levels.
This is music and not noise. Storey, backed by Joe Cooney on bass and Tim Kuhl on drums, sings his songs rather than shouts, and he sounds more like Mick Jagger than Mick himself does nowadays. If The Izzys went back in time to the early-seventies they could happily pass this album off as The Stones themselves and no one would question its authenticity. The opening riff on Strange sounds like Bitch or Brown Sugar's younger-cousin, whilst the high-fret work on Lonely reawakens the spirit of Robert Johnson, inspiration to The Stones in the first-place. Change Your Mind is a fun, rockabilly turn-of-direction with extra country-twang that suggests Storey isn't completed pre-occupied with blues rock; more so, Velocity has a Stooges opening that Iggy hasn't come near for years. This is thirty-one minutes of instant, refined rock and roll that feels stolen from a lost age.
OK, so it was all done years ago, but the original pioneers have long since forgotten what they achieved, and if younger warriors such as The Izzys can remind everyone of their destination, then the musical world will be a better place.