“I ended up choosing the title “Our Beautiful Baby World” this year as a kind of prayer,” says Izzy Reidy. “When I get very sad about the world, I find comfort in zooming out to the macro, universal level. On that scale, humanity is so young, so small, still learning, and full of possibility. When I think of it that way, I feel so tenderly towards humanity. All of the things it does to hurt itself are not it’s fixed nature, I have hope that it is (very slowly) learning to be gentle.”
Izzy True is also slowly learning to be gentle. Formed in upstate NY in 2015, Izzy True is a rock band of yearning currently based in Chicago, IL. The project has gone through many lineups over the years, always led by Izzy Reidy (guitar, vocals). These days, Reidy is joined by their friends Sam Goldstein (drums), and Curtis Oren (bass, sax, flute).
In creating Our Beautiful Baby World (May 2021), the pacing of Izzy True’s songwriting process has slowed down since their prior Don Giovanni releases -- Sadbad (2018) and Nope (2016). Arranging with Curtis and Sam, Reidy says they’ve grown as musicians together, and their songs were given space to grow, too. OBBW exhibits eleven rock songs of melded collaboration, expressing the deepness of acceptance. These are the band’s most dynamic compositions to date. The result is, Reidy hopes, to “sound like a bad drawing of a rock record.”
Reidy is also a cartoonist, emphasized in their talent for storytelling (“Mommy”) and imagery that plays with the fuzziness of reality -- angels, open pastures, and ghosts of old friends and lovers looping around their twanging yet patient vocals. There’s a desire to find okayness in this harsh world, translated in thrashing around, filled with wonder by the taste of a fresh guayaba (“New Fruit”).
The inspiration for the soft-hard dynamics of OBBW may have come from Reidy listening to Thin Lizzy, along with the bleeding of the band members’ strengths and histories: Curtis as a courageous experimental musician in the DIY circuit, Sam’s expertise as a hardcore drummer, one Hallowen cover-set of System of A Down in a Chicago basement from another world, and Reidy’s childhood growing up listening to old love songs and country music.
OBBW was recorded in Rock Island, IL at Rozz-Tox, a well-loved bar and music venue in the humble Midwest. Recorded and mixed by Ian Harris on reel-to-reel, Izzy True’s tunes returned to tape after Sadbad, which was digitally produced. The record utilizes the talents of Chicago music friends Jess Shoman (Tenci) on backup vocals and Andrew Clinkman (Spirits Having Fun) on lead guitar on “Four Good Ponies”. OBBW was recorded in the months before the pandemic, January and February 2020, which can feel obvious (“I don’t wanna hang out for a thousand years”) and subtle. The authentic limitations of reel-to-reel tape recordings give this project the aura of a time when live music was possible.
In Our Beautiful Baby World, Izzy True creates ups and downs of instrumental chaos and intimate vocals, often asking vulnerable questions (“are you mad at me?”) to feel like we are in close proximity. Leading into big guitars, crashing drums, and gnarly bari-saxophone, this mixture of sounds imitates shifts in interpersonal lives, deep breaths, ticking time. There’s a closing of a bedroom door and flopping down on the bed, the world zinging in your heart, or galloping away on a horse as a grand exit from an emotional experience.