Album Review: Izzy True – Our Beautiful Baby World

[Don Giovanni; 2021]

The world has undergone many challenges of late and it never ceases to come up with new reasons to be sad and scared about the future. The climate crisis is in full swing, COVID is still ravaging most of the globe, while poverty, hunger, disease and many more tragedies are currently happening. The world that seemed to have become tighter and closer over recent decades with the advent of fast travel and the internet now seems to have grown apart further than at any point in recent memory.

Having such anxieties makes one long for some form of companionship or comfort, but at the same time provokes the desire to completely close off to all outer distress. The Chicago-based indie-rock band Izzy True provide both companionship and escapism through their latest LP Our Beautiful Baby World.

Reflecting the vicissitudes of modern life, Our Beautiful Baby World veers between extremities of sound. Amidst the anxieties expressed, the album at times feels gentle and comforting, especially in the most intimate places on the record, such as “Mommy” and especially “You’re Mad At Me”, where lyricist Izzy Reidy digs deep into their own inner world. In doing so they dissolve the distance, creating a beautiful illusion as if they’re talking directly to the listener. However, Izzy True do not abstain from abrasiveness elsewhere, their crunchy guitars and disheveled saxophone building torrential force. These moments act as a reminder that there’s never really an all-encompassing comfort; it is always mixed in with certain distress.

Musically, Our Beautiful Baby World would lazily be placed as ‘indie’, but there’s a lot of jazz influence. It’s one of these albums that one cannot quite label, and in fact there’s an immense lack of need for it; classifying it will only take away from the pure pleasure of experiencing it without rationalizing it.

The production is mostly on the scrappy, lo-fi end, which is quite common nowadays – but it does not always have the same effect that Izzy True have harnessed on this LP. What the ‘home studio’-like sound does for Our Beautiful Baby World is double down on the aforementioned sense of intimacy, without losing the fidelity or urgency of multiple people playing their hearts out in unison. While most prefer pristine recordings, this can create a distance or dishonesty between the listener and the artist; their music is so perfectly recorded that it seems there wasn’t even oxygen in the studio during the sessions. However, on Our Beautiful Baby World, which was recorded at beloved midwest music venue Rozz-Tox in Rock Island, IL, the homespun nature intensifies the feelings being expressed, making the record sound as if it were recorded live with only the listener in the audience; and isn’t this something we music-lovers have missed the most through all of the hardships of late?

Despite the struggles for happiness expressed throughout – or perhaps because of them – Izzy True’s Our Beautiful Baby World is just the reassuring record we all need. Naturally, there are enough albums this year that may be considered more proficient or innovative, but not a lot that compare to this one in levels of humanity and intimacy.