Advertise with The Big Takeover
The Big Takeover Issue #94
MORE Recordings >>
Subscribe to The Big Takeover


Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs

Follow us on Instagram

Follow The Big Takeover

Michael Isaak - Forever is a Scary Word (Scarab Songs)

25 April 2024

Just because you can draw a line from Michael Isaak back through the likes of Bon Iver to such sonic instigators such as Nick Drake doesn’t mean that we don’t need artists like him to follow in their footsteps and keep their spirits alive. Not that Forever is a Scary Word, his latest EP is merely a placeholder or piece of plagiarism of such past glories. Far from it, but he does seem to be a kindred spirit to those two dreamscapers.

The six songs found here fall, by and large, into what we now call indie-folk, especially where that genre brushes up against ambient acoustica and more dream-pop realms. And if opener, “hey boy” is full of floating fascination, a song that drifts rather than drives and which is scattered throughout with effortless yet astute, chiming guitar runs, then “backfired,” which follows, has a more robust and circular structure.

This brace of songs sort of defines the sonic spectrum that the EP runs along. It’s not a great distance, dynamically speaking, but Michael Isaak does manage to do a lot within this space, especially with songs like “Love Me More,” which seems to have a pop song trapped inside it and which bubbles to the surface just enough to make this the standout track on the album, the perfect blend of the accessible and the ethereal.

Then we should consider Michaels’s vocals, at once cool and considered yet so too, warm and welcoming, hazy and harmonious, but also with the right balance of diction and drift, the same vocal balance that made John Martyn’s Solid Air such a seminal album.

In short, this is a gorgeous and gorgeously delicate album that echoes fine traditions and secures a place for such rich and gossamer sounds for the future.