Troika CD - WriteMore Songs

New York City indie-pop trio The Isles are well named, since they frequently evoke the British Isles, particularly the 1980s Manchester scene. While singer/guitarist Andrew Geller does often echo Morrissey, on the group's second album, Troika, The Isles dial down their Smiths mimicry stance, proving to be capable practitioners of likeable, original alternative pop. Jangly "Goodwill and Cachet" brings to mind The dB's smart pop, complete with some Southern-fried reverb and well-structured charm. Winsome head-nodder "There's No Heaven" furthers the Reagan-era college rock retrospection, resembling something that could have been crafted during the Athens, Georgia, heyday of a quarter century ago. Melancholy and emotionally exhausted "Under the Cover of Paradise" has a lingering quality akin to a former lover's perfume clinging to your favorite shirt, although Geller's deadpan delivery furnishes the track an eerie affection. Acoustic cuts, such as romantically dispossessed ode "Shelly," with the enigmatic line, "I can be the monster you trust," and quivery Big Apple homage "5th Avenue," add contrast. But it's the familiar-sounding indie-pop that gives Troika a spirited composite that will appeal to anyone who pines for melodic, three-minute pop tunes. (Doug Simpson)



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