Izzy Bizu’s debut album is a party. A party with plenty of liquid punch, your favourite selection of synthetic snacks and few real surprises. It’s like a made-for-radio tour through pop albums of the last two decades: a dollop of Jess Glynne, a pinch of Little Mix, a squeeze of Jamelia and just a hint of Little Jackie. But, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in sheer sun-glazed pick-‘n’-mix pop.
You don’t learn much about this 22-year-old singer from south London, despite the tease that she is ready to take you on a journey across countries, schools and relationships. Bizu, whose real name is Isobel Beardshaw, skateboards (apparently), she likes indie rock bands (The Black Keys), dance groups (C2C), Amy Winehouse, and the classic soul of Diana Ross and Sam Cooke, to name just a few.
A phalanx of producers, including Luke Juby (Emeli Sandé), Paul Herman (Corrine Bailey Rae), Dan Grech (Lana Del Rey) and Adam Argyle (Olly Murs), are on tap to cram all these disparate elements onto A Moment of Madness. There’s plenty here that you’ve heard before: the mopy pop balled (‘What Makes You Happy’), the less adventurous version of a playlist favourite (‘Gorgeous’ is Little Jackie’s ‘Liked You Better Before’), and heavy use of those pop strings and earnest-sounding backing vocals (‘Glorious’).
Still, if you subscribe to Cyndi Lauper’s philosophy that “girls just want to have fun”, then these criticisms will mean squat. Bizu is the owner of a harmonious, fruity voice, and she tickles you with her scats and coos, bringing a singer like Syleena Johnson to mind. Even the fact that her vocals have been layered with reverb and echo – diluting the purity at times – is unlikely to register if you lose yourself to her radio-ready songs. There’s synth-pop anthems to clap along to (‘White Tiger’), jazzy soul that’s like colliding the vocals of Cleopatra and Shanks & Bigfoot with the sunny rhythms of Bill Withers (‘Naïve Soul’, ‘I Know’), Adele-trialling percussive R&B (‘Give Me Love’) and the straight up head-rush of fizzy pop, ‘Adam & Eve’.
A Moment of Madness is a sparky, if harmless, debut from Bizu. There aren’t enough good-girls-of-pop about since Rihanna inspired all of them to go bad, and you can’t help but fall for Bizu’s soft-hearted charm. A buffet of music styles have been tossed and blended together on this album. Like Paloma Faith and Ella Eyre, its catchy, clean and does not stray far into the wildness. If you’re looking for a deep-seated emotional journey, listen to Denai Moore. If you just want to dance around for an hour and let go of your worries, Bizu is your girl.
A Moment of Madness is out now on Epic Records.
Image: Epic/Sony Music/PR