Laura Meade is one of the female lead singers from the band IZZ from New York. IZZ’s music has always been extraordinarily original and interesting, from the debut to their latest work. As a member Laura has contributed many memorable lines, verses and vocal performances over the band’s decades of fruition.
With Remedium, Laura steps up to the microphone to tell us her story and her battle with MS, as well as the things that have made her life fulfilled. She has thankfully overcome most of the disease’s inconveniences, but on Remedium she recounts that the journey has been difficult.
On Remedium, Laura, who also plays piano, is supported by her husband, and fellow IZZ band mate John Galgano and in addition, fellow IZZ band-mates: Paul Bremmer, Greg DiMiceli, and Brian Coralian. Guest artists helping to make the sound complete include Randy McStine (The Fringe, Lo-Fi Resistance) and Jason Hart (I and Thou, Renaissance, Camel).
Sunflowers at Chernobyl is the perfect title to open with. Yes, sunflowers breaking through the ugliness and pain of a nuclear meltdown. Powerful lyrics matched with keyboards, set against electric shock pulses punctuating the rhythm. Then, Laura’s whispered vocal; “When will it stop? When will you finally see it’s not worth the struggle… It’s not my fault… Can’t you give me a break?” Supporting this is a Chris Squire–like bass, accentuating the doom and frustration, and the drums, keyboards, piano and guitar keep tugging you to stand up and fight.
By track two, Conquer the World, Laura is ready to fight. Soft acoustic guitar opens with Laura’s warm vocals. Tiptoe keys and marching drums launch another morning. Laura discusses the difficulty of living a life while fighting such a determined disease, but with that optimism and innocence in her voice you just know she will not fail: “Oh I’ll start today… Today is the day… I’ve got so much to say”. Then, a warm Beatles–like Hey Jude moment of sunshine to perfectly drive home the optimism. You just know the last laugh will be hers, whereas What I See from Here is a deep dive into the pain and frustration of MS. Laura’s sincere vocals and lyrics detail “the damage done”. Laura sings, “Wishing this were different doesn’t make it so”, then a powerful electric guitar solo. One of the best on the album.
As we move on to, Never Remember opens with pulsing drum-like tones and chiming keyboard sounds. Another waking up in the morning track, full of Laura’s soft vocals. A monumental guitar, drum and bass swarm of music fills the soundscape, like a wave of emotion or pain cascading over the production. Very dynamic and full of sensational volume.
The Old Chapel at Dusk is a deep and, at times, dark piano interlude from Laura and serves as a foreboding intro io the album’s best track, Dragons. It’s full of dynamic and original music that I hope will be an inspiration for IZZ’s next album. Laura opens with soft vocals, “Don’t listen to the voices that speak at 3am… No good can come from them today”, accompanied by soft guitar plucks and piano. “It’s time to slay the dragons in your head”. Oh yeah… and so it begins… acoustic guitar and piano lead you softly down the corridor that will soon be filled with a myriad of sounds and energy.
The creaking Halloween–like lead guitars, thundering drums and bass add to all the nightmares you can imagine a disease like MS might put you through. Laura counters, “Slow down, just breath… Try hard to breath”. Her voice echoes all around the soundscape. One of the best songs they have done in a long while, it would be great even if they stopped right here. But wait… there’s more! The second act of the song is even better, Laura’s ghostly vocals rise over the soundscape after one of the coolest keyboard intros I have ever heard from IZZ. Laura sings, “Play close attention”. Yeah, I think you’ve got our attention already! The bass, guitar and pulsating drums are fantastic, and the keyboard sounds alone are worth the price of admission. I would love to see this played live someday, there’s so much you could do with this song visually. “A second is a second too long”… but not for this song, I wish it could have lasted all day. It’s right up there with 2005’s Deafening Silence as one of my IZZ favourites.
How do you follow that? With some Home Movies. “I don’t know what you get, I can’t see that far yet. Do you know?”, accompanied by soft acoustic guitar. “Here we go! What on earth are you waiting for?” Don’t give up, despite the pain and frustration. Excellent acoustic and electric guitar solos. Your Way is sung by Laura with her husband John supporting on backing vocals. Laura sings, “If only they could see the world like you”. Acoustic guitar and bass accompany before harpsichord-like keys join in. The guitar solo is well placed. Continuing, Every Step is full of big bass and keys. “You’re in every step I take… away from here”. The support necessary to move beyond the pain, with help and love from a close friend. Piano joins in with the bass and jazzy nature of the track, and concluding Laura’s piano and “morning on the horizon” keyboards fill the closing song, Irradiation. Strings join in and help build the symphonic level. A powerful closer to “rule them all”.
What are you waiting for? Go and get this latest chapter in the IZZ and Laura Meade story. You will learn why she is one of progressive rock’s best female vocalists and lyricists.
01. Sunflowers At Chernobyl (8:18)
02. Conquer The World (3:48)
03. What I See From Here (2:53)
04. Never Remember (3:57)
05. The Old Chapel At Dusk (2:23)
06. Dragons (11:09)
07. Home Movies (2:35)
08. Your Way (3:39)
09. Every Step (3:00)
10. Irradiation (3:18)
Total Time – 47:00
Laura Meade – Vocals, Piano, Chimes
John Galgano – Keyboards, Piano, Drums, Drum Programming, Bass, Guitars, Ukulele, Backing Vocals
Jason Hart – Keyboards (track 10)
Randy McStine – Electric Guitar (track 1)
Greg Meade – Electric Guitar (track 3)
Paul Bremner – Electric Guitar (track 4)
Brian Coralian – Drums (track 2)
Greg DiMiceli – Drums (track 4)
Record Label: Doone Records
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 18th May 2018