PAINT IT RED
IDAHO • YEAR AFTER YEAR • LP/CD • QUIQUEY
Idaho consist of a decently-heeled, classically-trained pianist (bass, vocals) and an ex-junkie who was a roadie for LA punk bands at the age of thirteen (guitars).
The sound they produce is absolutely nothing like what you’d expect from this pairing. The nearest comparison is probably acoustic Sebadoh, except that Idaho don’t try so hard to be uncommercial, and where Sebadoh’s music is cute, Idaho’s is beautiful. It’s late night music, both uplifting and depressing. John Berry’s crystal feedback and occasional crashes of fuzz give a more urgent edge so that it doesn’t just wash over you, and Jeff Martin’s deep voice sounds both relaxed and concerned. The drums, provided by various people, are barely necessary and hardly intrude at all into the layered guitarscapes, The formula is probably best demonstrated on Gone which, makes you want to smile, cry and fall asleep (that’s a good thing).
My only reservations are when the voice and guitars become rather Pearl Jam and overblown. There is a fine line between grandeur and pomposity, and when Idaho stay on the cynical side of it, they’re brilliant.