ISAAC GRACIE / SHOW ME LOVE
First impression of Isaac’s newest track is that it’s evidently tangential to his debut album. The slightly hackneyed title 'Show Me Love' bursts out immediately into the eponymous riff leaving the slow-burn listener trotting expectantly behind. It’s unadulterated pleasure-seeking; a feet-moving gambol. Quite aside from Gracie’s traditionally wistful timbre, 'Show Me Love' swells with blithe, anthem-like simplicity.
And yet Gracie ushers us into an exceptional duality of brassy animation with a strong substrata of his characteristic trenchancy. The metaphors in his latest bob may be less obscure than previously - obliging, even, at face value - but there’s no indication that this new energy is anything less than bedfellows with his habitual nuance. So much is clearly signposted by the EP’s title Close Up - Looking Down which conjures an image of two bodies that is equally possibly one of crippling shyness or fiendishly suggestive.
'Show Me Love' takes us on a romp through the dizzying straights of a new love. It’s an ode to unqualified indulgence in the present - that messy euphoria of throwing all your eggs in one basket and then jumping in with them. Gracie’s warm protestations "Too long I’ve tried to hide it/ I won’t let you go" throb and billow out as the track unfolds. But his embracement of the sensuous present is rooted in a conviction of love’s temporality. It’s fair to say his ambiguous invitation to smoke and drink my wine implies the consumption of a finite entity. A Wildesque wielding to a temptation that will lead inevitably to its conquering - the necessary but unsung comedown on the other side. In this sense, 'Show Me Love' rings true to that particular nausea that accompanies finally having in your possession something you’ve long desired and cannot bear to lose.
Indeed, Gracie’s evocation of a breathless love drives unrelentingly towards its end the way a tragedy picks up speed once the protagonist has committed his hamartia and is propelled inevitably to his demise. In the refrain Gracie appeals to his lover to lay your body down by mine, comically alluding to a recumbent corpse - a final bed. He’s showing us English misanthropy at its finest, a witty amplification of emotional self-destruction that isn’t entirely unburdened in its basis.
This same impish melodrama permeates the music video which charters a tennis match pitting Isaac Acey head-to-head against himself - the ardent Isiah ‘Bassline smash’ . Subtitles of unabashed self- aggrandisement are comically undermined as he prances across the set in a masterpiece of incongruity. And yet it wouldn’t be stretching credibility to say there’s a fitting significance to Isaac’s theatrics for a song lamenting the internal dislocation that follows being entirely enraptured with another person. His accusation you’re painting pictures in my mind expresses that familiar indignation and vulnerability of finding you have, unsolicited, crowned someone else arbiter of your stream of thoughts. It brings the long-term listener back to his very first release where he ruminates - "it’s all in my mind/ now I don’t even get to be alone."
Moments before Gracie’s live performance at the Village Underground in Shoreditch this spring I recall a girl commenting but its so profound - will we stand and watch? Or will we dance? There’s little doubt following Gracie’s latest stint that we can anticipate a Close Up - Looking Down tour of a different hue. In his own words, the track aims to ‘do justice to how I am in my free time’.
There’s an honesty to his statement - a sense that with this latest release we’re seeing more, not less of Isaac. And though the singer will doubtless stubbornly continue to attest he remains Terrified, we can’t quite kick the sense that he’s stepped neatly out of his cross-bearing chamber-choir delineation and is smirking at us from the sidelines.