Pop rock duo Iamis have returned with Go Supernovae!, a new cassette that is presented as the band’s third full-length since their inception in 2000. While I’ve seen these folks play a few times around town over the years, I’m not overly familiar with them as a studio collective as I haven’t owned any of their previous efforts or knowingly listened to them on any sort of radio platform. Having said that, I can easily say that after spending some time with this music over the last few weeks, Go Supernovae! has my full attention as a stand alone album.
Ten seconds into the opening track “Hustlin'” it is immediately evident that Shawna Dellecave’s versatile voice is the secret ingredient behind this distinct flavor of indie pop. Her vocals remind me of a cross of Alaina Moore (Tennis) and Kate Pierson (The B-52’s); at time’s Dellecave is silky smooth, and at others she can turn it up and let the rambunctious side of her personality be showcased. Drummer Jason Cox also lends his pipes, mostly as a backing vocalist whose voice reminds me of Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips) at times. Cox does take center stage a few times, and it works just fine, but for my money the music that Iamis makes works best when Shawna’s voice is the driving force.
The songs on Go Supernovae! each have a unique personality, as no two songs seem to follow the same formula which keeps me interested and on my toes as the band remains unpredictable. Iamis have clearly made the most of music’s “genre buffet” carefully picking and choosing from all sorts categorical styles ranging from psychedelic beach pop to bluesy garage rock. “Hustlin'” really works as a lo-fi, upbeat number that begs you to sing along to its catchy melody. “Lead Hands” plays out like an early Beach Boys slow jam with a touch of what sounds like harpsichord. Cox’s deeper backing vocals really do it for me here as a subtle, complimentary component that effectively compliments Dellecave’s lead.
“TyoomulCHoouhs” is more of a rockin’ tune with a meaner attitude wherein Dellecave takes more of a PJ Harvey approach. On “Unsteady Ground” the band explores it’s garage rockin’ bluesy side that makes me want to grow out my hair, put on a jean jacket and smoke a doobie. Midway through the song there is a fantastic guitar solo that immediately puts this song into a Pockets-era Karate vibe. Closing track “A Bell Rings Silently” maintains the 70’s garage vibe with another solo-laden rocker that opens up like a Neil Young cut but ends up sounding more like something you might here from JEFF the Brotherhood.
While there is something I can enjoy from every song on Go Supernovae!, I must say that there is a lack of a consistent vibe that makes this album seem a bit turbulent. It opens up as a smooth, almost surfy pop rock record but by it’s conclusion ends up with a gritty, retro rock n’ roll attitude that seemingly comes out of nowhere. As a fan of both genres I’m left satisfied but confused as to what this band is trying to do. What I can assure you of is this: The songs that remind me of beached up bubble gum pop (especially the first two) are my personal favorites and have been added to my Summer Party Time playlist. Perhaps after listening you’ll prefer the heavier side of Iamis. There’s only one way to find out…