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I.S.S.

The self-described “time-warping boy band” I.S.S. is normally led by vocalist/songwriter/manufacturer Tim Smolens, who’s better known for his are bassist in the genre-hopping Santa Cruz, CA, music group Estradasphere. The quartet is normally curved out by fellow vocalists (and periodic songwriters) Joey Riken, Joel Robinow, and George Smith. The group’s record artwork, lyrics, and general musical approach certainly are a combination of homage and parody regarding the decades-long background of the son band genre/trend, through the Four Freshmen towards the Seaside Young boys and on through newer groups like the Backstreet Young boys. While in writing they may appear to contain the trappings of only novelty music group, they surpass that type of designation on the effectiveness of their songwriting and musicianship; hearing them, it turns into immediately very clear that they place significant amounts of effort to their music and not simply the idea behind it. I.S.S.’s tracks are designed around four-part vocal harmonies that are in times uncanny within their similarity to Family pet Sounds/Smile-era Seaside Young boys (Smolens can be a devoted, mainly self-taught acolyte of Seaside Young boys mastermind Brian Wilson). I.S.S.’s debut recording, Overlook the Girl, arrived in 2002 on Mimicry Information, the label of Mr. Bungle/Magic formula Chiefs 3 member Trey Spruance and the house of Estradasphere’s initial few releases. Overlook the Girl included efforts from Smolens’ sibling, Doug Smolens, on drums, along with support vocals and instrumental assistance by fellow Estradasphere people Timb Harris and John Whooley.

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