Isosceles - All the Right Angles
The word Angular might be a badge of honour worn by today's sprightly young hipsters but as Billy Hamilton finds out, Glasgow's Isosceles are sharper than your average
In the overtly verbose world of modern-day music journalism there's an adjective that rears its grubby heid time and time again. It's a word that - according to The Oxford English Dictionary's trusty conglomeration of morphemes - has little to do with the creation of melody; but amidst ink-smudged pages it's an omnipresent indication of a specific sound. The offending word is 'Angular'. The sound? Turbo-charged post-punk pop, or something.
Armed with a scattershot of chiselled guitar jerks, drum splutters and a name that hardly suggests horizontal linearity, it was perhaps inevitable that Glasgow quartet Isosceles would be quickly lumped in with the radian contorting 'It' crowd since forming at the back end of 2006. So, armed with both a protractor and a dusted down Secondary School physics textbook, The Skinny catches up with keyboardist William Aikman to uncover whether there's a certain *cough* degree of truth to the media's eager-beavered pigeon-holing.
"Aye, we get a lot of comments about how our sound is 'angular' but it's not an intentional thing at all," he says despairingly. "Musically, we don't want to be lumbered in with anything; but once it's out there and people are writing about it, it's not up to us what they say about us anymore. We just want to get on with what we're doing and hopefully make a bit of a success out of it if we can."
Success is steadily arriving for this fledgling ensemble of university chums who initially converged for a friend's birthday party in Aberdeenshire, (ominously entitled 'Muckfest'). Having released their debut A-side Get Your Hands Off/I Go in August last year to high praise, the group were hand picked by sometime Guardian food critic and art-chic chieftain Alex Kapranos to support Franz Ferdinand on an 8-gig Scottish tour.
After mingling with such indie-pop glitterati, it seems Isosceles have developed a taste for the golden crusted cracknel of stardom themselves: "I think [playing with Franz Ferdinand] was the point where we thought 'actually, we can do this full-time'," Aikman states assuredly. "It was obviously a professional operation they were running; it was our first introduction to a proper tour where it was really busy and we had professional equipment to use. So in that way we're doing a little bit better handling the practicalities of touring and things. In the beginning we did it for a bit of fun; now we're taking it a lot more seriously and writing songs with a lot more of a purpose."
But as a smorgasbord of bands sardine-crushed into Glasgow currently fight for the eye of the nation's salivating A&R men, what is it that makes Isosceles unique? "I'm not sure if any one thing does," says Aikman. "Maybe we are just another Glasgow band but I think that all the Glasgow bands - certainly the ones that are fairly successful - are completely different from each other. I think that you have to be unique and have your own style: if you don't, the Glasgow record-buying public aren't going to be too impressed. In this city you can't reproduce anyone in order to succeed."
A radiant blush of Hammond keys and jinking riffs, new single Kitch Bitch doesn't quite fill a swag-bag with the triumphant sounds of West-Coast dwelling luminaries past, but it certainly tips its head to the likes of Franz and Orange Juice before them. So how are we category-crazed hacks going to describe the sound of Isosceles in future? Sharply drawing breath for a brief second of comedic timing, Aikman quips knowingly: "I dunno. Angular, maybe?"
Isosceles support The Teenagers at Oran Mor, Glasgow on 4 Apr and play Moshulu, Aberdeen on 5 Apr and The Studio Warehouse. Glasgow on 18 Apr
The single, Kitch Bitch is out on 21 Apr via Art/Goes/Pop