Step Right Up: The Invisible
Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
The Invisible’s latest album ‘Rispah’ encompasses the sonic palette of Radiohead, the production magic of The Notwist’s ‘Neon Golden’, the emotive vocals of Junior Boys, and the electronic synth pop sound of more recent Darkstar releases. Many layers of The Invisible’s sound blend naturally together producing an entirely emotive and atmospheric musical voyage. Singer and guitarist Dave Okumus, bassist Tom Herbert and synthesizer and drummer Leo Taylor form the London trio. ‘Rispah’ is the prime example of an album that is worth far more than the sum of its parts and upon repeated listening further layers of beauty is revealed in its intricate detail. The musicianship of The Invisible’s three members is clearly demonstrated throughout the album’s eleven tracks from the opening swirling synth instrumental featuring African music samples to the moving synth pop closer and lead single, ‘Protection’.
Interestingly, The Invisible’s bassist is also a member of the innovative British experimental jazz group Polar Bear. ‘Rispah’ is named after Dave Okumus’ mother who passed away during its writing process. In the words of Okumus, the album is a “love letter to grief”. Samples of singers from his mother’s funeral is dispersed throughout ‘Rispah”s songs, especially evident on the album’s closer ‘Protection’. These traditional Kenyan spirituals add a deep realm of spirituality to the emotive indie-electronic soundscapes. My current favourite is ‘Surrender’ with its chorus of ‘You can mean anything to me’ delivered over dream-like guitars and heavenly synthesizer sounds. The song begins with a quietly picked acoustic guitar beneath soft electronic glitches echoing the indie electronic pop sound of Junior Boys.
‘Generational’ could be taken off Radiohead’s ‘Hail To The Thief’ such is the song’s indie and electronica infused sound. ‘Wings’ starts with heavy electronic beats, thick bass and gorgeous synths before Okumus sings ‘The wind is changing/the time has surely come’. It is certain upon listening to this follow-up to their 2009 Mercury nominated debut that in 2012 The Invisible’s time is soon to come.
‘Rispah’ is out now on Ninja Tune.