ISA & THE FILTHY TONGUES * * * * * Dark Passenger Neon Tetra TETRA017, £13.99
The second album from the three Scotsmen and their American girl is a dark power pop treasure to be savoured from start to finish.
Martin Metcalfe's rich baritone distinguished Goodbye Mr Mackenzie from the pack, and here he steps forward to share the spotlight with his significant other, Stacey Chavis, who handled all lead vocals on the band's debut. Her sympathetic backing adds an ethereal and slightly sinister quality to the eco-brooding of From The Treetops and the shimmering hit single waiting to happen, I'm With You. A turbo-charged bass introduction from Fin Wilson, slashing chord hook and straining-at-the-leash guitar solo complete this perfect pop picture.
Metcalfe reciprocates in style on Beautiful Girl, powered by a jaunty strut worthy of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in their Brechtian pomp.
If Chavis previously seemed slightly intimidated by her bandmates' gnarled past, Call Me is where she claims parity, with a vocal of supreme confidence and control.
Ignore the band's colourful history, because Dark Passenger sketches out a vivid and vital future.
Download these: Call Me, I'm With You, Inside Out
• This article was first published in Scotland on Sunday on 24 January, 2010