[sic] Magazine



IST IST are the latest post punk revival act to evoke memories of Interpol, Editors and yes, Joy Division. The four-piece band have been around since 2014, gigging at legendary Manchester venues such as Deaf Institute and Gorilla, releasing EPs and garnering a loyal fanbase. All we were missing was a manifesto, namely their debut long player.


Adam Houghton’s gravelly drawl introduces proceedings on chiming opening song ‘Wolves’. This is followed by ‘Your Mine’, the catchiest piece here, cleverly positioned as track number 2. I guess ‘Your Mine’ will draw plenty of comparisons with local scene compatriots The Slow Readers Club. The vocals do that ‘flattened gothic baritone’ thing…you know it…the one that make folks go ‘Oh, he’s like Ian Curtis’, (whilst sounding nothing like the great man) It’s a confident start nevertheless and the ‘hits’ don’t let up there. Several tracks here have received the video treatment which seems to pretty much act like a single these days. Material like ‘Discipline’ and ‘Silence’ maintain established levels. More notably ‘Drowning In the Shallow End’ changes tempo somewhat and offers a glimpse to what IST IST might confidently aspire toward. There’s an understated majesty to this. Synths are to the fore here especially in the songs crescendo.

Elsewhere we have icier pieces like ‘A New Love Song’ which is about as Goth as you can get without dressing up. (Think Whispering Sons ) This is counterbalanced by warmer, more accessible songs like ‘Black’ with its callout hook reminiscent of Motorama or even The Drums. ‘Black’ ends in scree of jabbing, Interpol-esque angularity and you find yourself succumbing to IST IST’s fatal charm.

Any missteps? I will admit to the occasional bizarre lyric pulling me out of the listening process. ‘Under Your Skin’ seemed to be ranting about ‘Committees’ which didn’t work for me. I was put in mind of the White Lies debut album which had a song about showering in a penthouse. Talk about buzzkill. This is rock ‘n’ roll guys! These are minor gripes though as the overall experience was positive. The album ends with obligatory epic closer ‘Slowly We Escape’ which is another box ticked perhaps not quite as memorably as other debuts such as Puressence or Interpol.

This is the sort of music that Manchester was always best at. When they stopped doing it, other territories fanned the embers. New York briefly reignited the scene. Now with Slow Readers and IST IST it has come back home…sort of. Don’t get me wrong, I love this style of music, it just feels as though there are new gen post-punk bands everywhere now. IST IST need to guard against becoming one of those facsimile acts. On ARCHITECTURE I found IST IST at their most interesting when they were pushing the synthesizer angle. Maybe that can be their point of difference in a saturated market.

Go listen to some early OMD lads. ARCHITECTURE was solid. Maybe add some Morality next time.