The collaborative project itso swaggers confidently and convincingly amongst the year’s most interesting discoveries for me. Scobie Ryder (ex-Hellfire Club frontman and Gold Awarded songwriter/producer), and Martin Hanisch (a top German session guitarist/writer and producer) is another of those projects exhibiting the energy and the willingness to reignite the true rock spirit through their new-fashioned rock n’ roll, or as they themselves put it – “Fresh Retro”.
Recording remotely in two different countries, itso rely on the pure organic sounds of guitars, drums, bass and vocals to ignite their vision. And what a vision they have. They plan to release 1 song every single month, for the next 24 months. With 40 songs already recorded, this is the timeline they have afforded themselves to make an impact on the scene.
Following the release of ecologically infused single “MOTHER EARTH (For What It’s Worth)”, and the harder hitting rock aesthetic of “Perfect Puppets”, itso once again vary the template on “Beautifully Bad” which affronts the theme of sentimental obsession.
“You’re so beautifully bad. I’m mad about you. Everything I’ve never had. I’m so mad about you.” The agitation in the vocals as he sings about downshifting from fantasy to reality comes in a form of realism.
Loaded with a powerful rhythm, superb guitar licks, and complemented by dynamic vocals, “Beautifully Bad” rocks all the way through. What separates itso from the countless bands duplicating classic and alternative rock, is their way of incorporating rock signatures with a more modern-day sound encompassing different styles.
Though their influences are loud and clear, that doesn’t keep itso from adding in originality with their own catchy grooves and strong melodies. There is no doubt that itso’s sound will be compared to many other legendary rock bands of the past, yet they are not a knock-off to any band, active or defunct.
This SM Productions (Smoke & Mirrors) project mostly flew under the radar until recently, as there are just so many singles and albums that get released these days that it’s hard to get to all of them, let alone review them. Sadly that means occasionally a project as good as this one, slips through the cracks, when indeed itso deserve to be considered as a band to watch very closely.
The band’s singles are all well-polished songs with catchy choruses and unchained energy. As rock continues to slowly and steadily return to form, there seems to be hope that a new following and generation will transform with it. It’s clearly going to be a long and complex process, but projects like itso, are definitely speeding it up. It’s great to have a band that we can watch and hear develop into something great.
itso’s recent releases combined with the talent expressed on each of them, suggest that there are even bigger and better things still to come from this collaborative effort. To all those fans out there craving for something new and wondering, “What happened to rock?” You can abandon your worries and focus on itso. Scobie Ryder and Martin Hanisch pack a knockout punch with their new songs.