BALLOONS DON’T FLOAT HERE (ISAAC DUNBAR)

RELEASED 12TH JULY 2019

Favourite Track: mime

Imagine entering a visiting circus that’s been run-down and everything keeps stopping and starting but then you hear the most gorgeous vocals that work so well with the backing sounds and everything starts to just make sense which makes it AWESOME

I had never heard of the artist, Isaac Dunbar but his debut album balloons don’t float here looked really cool. I was tempted to skip reviewing this one but something about it just made me click on it. I think the cover art of him smiling on a chair holding a load of red balloons against a white background just had me thinking “wow this is simplistic and yet here I am drawn to it”. The album has a total of 8 songs on it and I couldn’t wait to hear what is was going to be like. The lack of description on his Spotify bio meant that I didn’t even know which genre to place the artist in but then again, I suppose that’s what meant I listened in the first place.

Image credit: Twitter

His first track ‘pharmacy’ opens up with wave synths and then his smooth vocals come in alongside some chopped up subtle Trap beats. The vocal layering works really nicely and I actually found that his music kinda sounds like he is the male version of Billie Eilish. It’s quirky and plays around with sounds, echoes and atmospheric instrumentals with solid beats. As a fan of Billie Eilish and artists making music with weird atmospheric/instrumental stuff going on, it was an instant hit with me. The next song ‘woman on the hills’ exhibited his vocal talent with great riffs and frequent changes in pitch. This one was more playful as a song with a xylophone synth sounding melody and some 80s synths popping up here and there as well as weird spooky alien noises which I like. The songs are all so cleanly produced and I think the whole album is worth a listen. Another artist he really reminds me of is Conan Gray. His song ‘blonde’ REALLY has this sound. 

‘mime’ is a song that has allllll the vocal harmonies/layers in the intro. It has a slower sound that then builds into a kind of distorted merry-go-round song looking at him being made into something he’s not. ‘ferrari’ is another creepy “innocent but actually haunting” sounding song but then the beautiful, slower vocals make it very listenable. The deeper layered vocals and the subject matter have a very ‘Bad Guy’ Billie Eilish sound. The beat and hard electric guitar give this song more of an attack which is interesting because it makes the album more varied. All of a sudden, ‘cologne’ then throws us off with a crazy choral exhibit at the start of the song that is then reduced to soft piano and chords and vocals. This song is more repetitive than the others but it’s still a catchy tune. The song ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ talks about someone who wants everything but they couldn’t see a relationship with the singer even though he treated them to everything they wanted. Really nice vocal work here and a good contrast with intense builds to silence. The final song is so melancholic sounding but it’s again, beautiful. I think I’ve discovered an artist that I’ll be listening to a LOT.

Wear headphones when you listen to this album so you can pick up on all the great vocal and instrumentals. Stunning debut album and very contemporary.