CD Review: Isadora | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Young local rockers Isadora do an admirable job of straddling hardcore, pop-punk and emo genres and emerging with something, frankly, quite good. The new full-length shares some similarities with Coheed and Cambria -- strong melodic sense, high-tensile riffs, interlocking guitars and tight rhythms -- without that group's polarizing trademarks. Like the Dungeons & Dragons concept albums and the Geddy Lee voice.

Derek Piekarski and Jason Pintea dish out the dueling guitar leads, as Jason Cianella (bass) and Nathan Campayno's drums lock down grooves that crackle with electricity on the shuddering stop-start turnarounds.

In contrast, Alex Mohler's vocals are surprisingly smooth, bringing out appropriate melodies for the triumphant chords of "I Am Daniel Desario" and "Oceans." Instead of screams and overwrought anguish, he sounds confident and relaxed, opening the disc with the lines, "Light a match, run away / count the things that you can break / and watch the life that you create / as it's burning."

The material's still a bit melancholy, but most of the lyrics on the disc emphasize personal agency over hysterical "panic." It's an attitude oddly reminiscent of that old Neil Young song -- "Don't let it bring you down / It's only castles burning." And that's a refreshing change from a lot of Isadora's contemporaries.

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