Isaac's Aircraft
Sweeney Todd's Bar, Leeds
31st January

Let's drop any pretence. I have been friends with Zak Thomas, frontman of Isaac's Aircraft, since the age of 7, when pocket money, football and Top of the Pops were far more important than student debts, relationships and the state of the British music scene. Over a decade later and this friendship could lead to accusations of this review being a shameless plug for a mate's band, a brazen attempt at a bit of internet publicity.

To be honest it is, but bear with me.

Isaac's Aircraft possess a musical versatility and social awareness that allows me to not only extol their virtues to their face but to honestly commend them to others.

Having spent many a night following friend's bands in the dank and dark of the Man on the Moon a trip to Leeds evoked images of something a bit more glamorous.

However, the ominously named Sweeney Todd's Bar was also a rather gloomy establishment, with a metal beam strategically placed in front of the stage to perfectly obscure half the band. With a modest crowd of 20-30 people, the four piece of Isaac's Aircraft took the stage and opened with two new songs. The addition of electric guitar over the last year to compliment the keyboard has created a far richer and dynamic sound and vocals are now much more distinguished. Thomas's proclamation 'I am the Sun' encompassed the venue, the song a sermon to followers both old and new.

After some joyfully puerile crowd banter (haha- pianist sounds like penis), a firmly tongue-in-cheek cover of Katy Perry's 'Hot and Cold' was performed with a vigour maintained into old favourite 'Early Train'. Following 'Nothing to Relate', a song of alienation and isolation, the energy and level dropped some what for two less developed new offerings. However, they came on strong to end, finishing with future single 'Friends and Foes', a track combining a catchy keyboard opening with a cracking guitar solo to end.

Musically Isaac's Aircraft have developed hugely over the past couple of years with a much fuller, vibrant sound and some memorable hooks. The lyrics and their delivery continue to improve, delving deeper into social observation and personal insight, with Thomas's distinguished voice a perfect compliment to convey them. Yes I'm bias, but Isaac's Aircraft have something to say and have something for you to listen to.

P. Strachan