We had our first real introduction to London-based singer/songwriter IZO FITZROY back in 2017 via her ‘Skyline’ album. We learned that Ms F’s entry to the music biz was via Gospel. When she was just 19, Izo joined London’s Soul Sanctuary Choir; then in 2013 she formed her own Great Sea Gospel Choir. Moving on and embracing the influence of the female blues singers she cites as influences… people like Janis Joplin and Beth Hart, she toured with her own 8 piece band that included a four part gospel-influenced backing vocal line up. During this time she worked the circuit over in New Orleans. Indeed whilst a resident in New Orleans Izo wrote the songs for ‘Skyline’ and the influence of the Crescent City was clear on the set…. back then we described it as “gritty, gutsy soul/blues with a rocky undertow….pitched somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, with a tough, organic soundscape”.
Izo’s new collection, ‘How The Mighty Fall’ continues exactly where ‘Skyline’ left off… more raw, emotion wrenching music… yes “gritty”, “gutsy”, “tough” and “organic”. It’s apparent right from the start with the bluesy meander that is ‘Ain’t Here For Your Pleasure’. Replete with F words, it’s a committed declaration of emotional independence. There’s more emotion baring on the quite lovely piano-led ballad, ‘Give Me A Moment’ (listen up for the beautiful hooks) and the Southern soul steamer that is ‘Purify’.
‘Red Line’ lightens the mood with its busy contemporary sound but this album’s big “up” moment is ‘I Want Magic’. We first heard this last May (I think) when in its Dimitri from Paris mix it scaled all the credible soul charts and brought Ms F to a wider audience. Here the shortened version still sounds good.
Apart from Dimitri, the other producers are Colin Elliott and Shawn Lee fresh from his work with Young Gun Silver Fox (see our previous review… coincidence or what!). They’re all savvy enough to simply allow Izo’s remarkable gospel-reared voice do the bulk of the work… the more wondrous, given that in 2018 the singer was hospitalised with vocal chord issues! Also helping out are the famed Haggis Horns and, a nice touch, Izo’s old sparring partners, the Soul Sanctuary Choir who bring their sweet gospel harmonies to the affair. Between them they shake/stir a satisfying cocktail of varied Brit soul.