Isle of View - Gentle Firefly Radio (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Isle of View

Gentle Firefly Radio (2005)


Isle of View are the latest in a long list of bands to suck the remaining cash out of the pop-punk cow, and I'm really at my wits end for this sort of thing.

It's going to take something more than a simple, catchy tune to really earn me saying anything overly positive about a specific band. Unfortunately, Gentle Firefly Radio is simply that, a collection of catchy pop-punk tunes that don't aspire to be anything else. And maybe in a sense it's admirable, that they don't try to overextend themselves, and infuse some zany bullshit gimmick, but at the same time, it's still that very same music that every band between Boston and San Diego is playing. Well, every band that isn't a metalcore band, anyhow.

Isle of View may be a bit more rock-focused, but that's as far as the differences travel. I'd be lying if I said "He Who Laughs Last" doesn't have an incredibly catchy chorus, and some simple but enjoyable chord progressions that do nothing more than fit their aim. Yes, the chorus does have that sing-along quality that so many pop-punk acts aspire for, but they can't just leave it at that. Just when you think the song is over, it needlessly continues for another minute or so, offering nothing more than some drab vocals, until an impromptu guitar solo at the end at least saves some sort of face. I'll give it to them, the singer has a great voice. It's not nasal, and the man can undeniably keep a tune, but in every new song that very same tune appears.

Try as they might, Isle of View is never able to fully capture the feel-good spirit of "He Who Laughs Last." They come close, I'll give them that, but even on the catchy "Tombstone," the vocals don't sound quite as pristine; they don't jump out of your speakers with quite as much enthusiasm as they did there. It's as if that song was created on a different plane than everything else, as even the album's video single, "Ransom," is missing something. The rousing chorus can't save the fact that the rest of the song is a pretty poor attempt. It gets better as it goes on, but it ends rather abruptly, breaking any sort of flow or rhythm they could have started there.