An ominous bassline spurs your ears into action as it introduces a very James Bond-esque guitar riff. With the rapid-fire energy of the mysterious bass, one can imagine themselves speeding off in an iridescent convertible, fighting against time itself to rid the world of danger.
That’s how duo Iska Dhaaf’s second studio album, The Wanting Creature, starts off — the album’s opening track, “Invisible Cities,” is filled with a 1960s British pop vibe that could definitely pass as a theme song for a totally bad-ass spy movie.
Right away, the alluring instrumental starts things off with a bang, introducing the album with a track that combines a series of fast-paced synth beats with a sexy guitar part that entices the audience to listen for more.
Iska Dhaaf Intrigue and Enrapture
Far from fitting into just one genre, the latest from Iska Dhaaf is a complex series of layered tracks and instrumentals, incorporating a smooth yet frenzied blend of synth sounds, electric guitars, and psychedelic vocals that defy genrefication. The album is a cornucopia of genre-bending influences; there are so many things jam-packed into each track — both content-wise and instrumentally — that the listener is left on the edge of their seat to hear what’s coming next.
However, upon closer inspection, the complexity of The Wanting Creature reflects a deeper and almost philosophical expression of the personal experiences of each band member. With overtures of depression, instability, and loss, factors in the personal lives of Nathan Quiroga (Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band), The Wanting Creature explores the theme of desire and how it manifests itself our lives.
The entire production of the album is simply phenomenal. Tracks like “Lost” have so much energy and focus built into its instrumental, yet there is a haziness that is added through the vocals that balances the track well. The juxtaposition of sounds — the fast-paced electronic beat bouncing off the slower, cooing vocals — creates an overall product that is able to satisfy two very different feelings at one.
The chorus explodes with psychedelic reverb; as the vocals sing “I go through the motions / I feel no emotion / Can anything move me at all / Why do I need somebody to be with / to feel like somebody at all,” there is a certain level of emotional numbness that resonates to those who know the feeling of monotony all too well.
The lyrics, in a way, also act as another countering element of the track; the brooding and dark content of the words go against the lively and spirited tempo of the track itself. However, the song’s minor key matches the tone of the lyrics, drawing listeners in with its intoxicating blend of complex layers.
“Chrysalis” is another track that shows off the layering Iska Dhaaf achieves; there is a static allure that reverberates off the song’s varied guitar riffs and steady drum beat, almost as if there’s a secret that you’re waiting to unfold.
One of the more varied tracks, however, is “The Moth.” Incorporating more acoustic guitar, the track has a misty sound that adds a very clear lightness to the album. It’s almost if the vocals are caressing the listener’s ears and enticing them to come join the band on a radical, yet completely melodious, spiritual journey. With lyrics like, “We never know what we are here for,” the track can almost be deemed a ballad for self-reflection.
There are just way too many things happening in The Wanting Creature to talk about succinctly — you’d probably need all night. With the amount of layering, emotion, and musical buildups, Iska Dhaaf manage to create something truly magical. Every little crevice of the songs are more than just flashy additions; they are cogs working together seamlessly, harmoniously, toward a unified goal.
The Wanting Creature takes about a million ideas and blends them together into one coherent thought.