Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Listen/Watch: Alex Izenberg - "To Move On"

If Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Alex Izenberg's vocal warble sounds at all familiar to you it's probably because you might've heard it in that of his experimental pop moniker Mirage. "To Move On", the first single from Izenberg's upcoming debut full length Harlequin and the first batch of music not released under an alias, tones down much of the calamity of Mirage's composition. Where Mirage reveled in the juxtaposition of sounds: occasionally harsh and abrasive, "To Move On" takes a much more ear catching approach to Izenberg's take on the singer/songwriter tradition.

Based around a piano, Izenberg's croon is as dramatic and showily vaudevillian as it is a delightful sincere extension of his personality. "You don't know what's it's like to move on" Izenberg offers and immediately a rush of a saxophone comes to solidify the assertion of his chorus. Frequent collaborator Ari Balouzan's arrangements recall Van Dyke Parks without totally cribbing his style. It's a melting pot of ideas and influences while also distilling those very things into a complete artistic statement. Izenberg's musical realms are all together his own even when channeling the creative spirits of his native Los Angeles.

It's a sort of love song but there's also a sense gleaned from the lyrics of news beginnings. "You don't know what's it's like to move on/from a name you despise, it's true love" Izenberg offers in the second part of the chorus. It's purposefully vague able to function as a goodbye to a relationship you've outgrown or in this particular case, possibly an alias Izenberg no longer wants to be tied to anymore. It's a kiss off offered jauntily and without much animosity, ambiguously tucked into a track that could just as easily be about old time flapper girls as it could a girl in the modern world.

"To Move On" is tame when compared to Izenberg's other music endeavors and yet, it functions as both a less jarring reintroducing to Izenberg's wonderfully weird style of experimentalism and also an infectious slice of pop that's aspires to much more than radio friendly ear worm. The music video directed by Nicky and Juliana Giraffe humorously explores the notion of persona as Alex Izenberg sits dressed in a suit, stoically preparing to eat his burger for a camera trained upon him. He doesn't particularly play to the camera but acknowledges it's presence; not wholly comfortable with it but not put off by it. It's a different approach than that of his more slickly dressed alter ego, who sings and dances, drinks soda from a bottle like he's in a commercial. It's a disconnect that's larger than that of the camera's other subjects: regarding the camera straight-faced at first before offering up flashes of personality often in the same shot. The two versions of Izenberg never intersect and the video ends with the straight-laced version, his task completed, tiding up and ready to leave giving a final look to the camera that's all business.

Alex Izenberg's debut full length record Harlequin is out November 18th via Weird World. You can preorder the album now.

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