Isbells - Stoalin' (2013)

ISBELLS Stoalin’

01. Stoalin’
02. Heading for the Newborn
03. Heart Attacks
04. Falling In and Out
05. Letting Go
06. Illusion
07. One Day
08. Elation
09. Baskin’
10. Erase and Detach



Have you ever heard about the word “Stoalin'”? No?! Don’t worry-that is because it didn’t exist. At least until now. Stoalin’ is the name of ISBELLS new record – out on March the 1st. And a neologism. Gaëtan Vandewoude – ISBELLS‘ main head – explained why he invented this word: “While I’m tinkering with a new song, I tend to hum phonetic sounds or half-sentences which, at a later stage, will be replaced with sensible lyrics. But in the case of ‘Stoalin’.” He continues: “I found myself unable to come up with an alternative way to express the feeling I was trying to convey. So I decided to keep the original word in, even though it’s a neologism. But as the meaning lies hidden in the emotion, I’m pretty confident the listener will get the idea.”

And NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION got this idea while listening to the record. Stoalin’ is ISBELLS‘ second album and just as emotional, heart-touching and somewhat catchy as its predecessor. And it still keeps an acoustic folk touch and Gaëtan Vandewoudes tender voice. The opening title track is kind of disharmonious, but this doesn’t even matter. It is still a good piece of music – featuring a fast guitar play. It is simply a stoalin’ song. Heading For The Newborn is quiet folky and catchy – it animates you to hum its melody. “I want you dead or gone/ I never want to see you again” sings Vandewoudes in Heart Attacks. Pretty negative and bitter words. But they are alleviated by the “dum-da-dums” in the chorus.

Falling In And Out lives from a memorable guitar melody which grants the song a fragile and sad feeling. Then there is the heart-touching Letting Go – an acoustic track that features one guitar and Vandewoudes gentle voice. One Day trumps with characterful trumpets and Elation with a cheerful children choir – nevertheless both pieces carry a doleful manner. Stoalin’s last one-  Erase And Detach – includes an unexpected orchestral coda. “The moment I wrote it, I knew I wanted this song to erupt like a volcano at some point”, explained Vandewoudes. “If I told you how many tracks we used and how many layers of instruments we piled on top of each other with a view to this, I’m sure you would never believe me.”

The time is now / To set a new direction.” are some lines taken from this last track. And they seem to fit perfectly at the record’s end. These words are hopeful and sad at the same time – just as the whole album.