Iska Dhaaf, ‘Even the Sun Will Burn’ (Brick Lane)
Seattle, like every city, is full of bands that, for whatever reason, can’t parlay local buzz into something greater. For every Macklemore, there are myriad Mad Rads and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Bands.
This Tuesday, those two groups’ core members — singer-guitarist Nathan Quiroga and drummer Benjamin Verdoes, respectively — return with “Even the Sun Will Burn,” their debut as Iska Dhaaf — Somali for “let it go.”
The 12-song set finds the pair effectively reinventing themselves as pop-rock renaissance men, flirting with orchestral, post-punk and psychedelic styles and going to town on a vintage Farfisa organ — think Question Mark and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears,” or Elvis Costello’s “Radio Radio.”
Side A boasts two legitimate earworms, “All the Kids” and “Sullen Eyes,” plus a killer ballad, “Same Indifference.” The record loses some of its luster toward the end — at 53 minutes, it could’ve been a bit more streamlined — but the production is sleek and the performances are solid.
For fans of smart, tight pop music, “Sun” provides plenty of thrills — and, for its members, a clean break from past projects that didn’t quite make it.
Other new releases
Ambrose Akinmusire, “Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint” (Blue Note)
Christine Jensen, “Habitat” (Justin Time)
Sara Evans, “Slow Me Down” (Sony Nashville)