When considering pop, many thoughts come to mind, but never once has one of those thoughts been Stephen King’s seminal novel IT or its applauded 2017 film remake. Yet, upon hearing Isaac Dunbar’s highly-anticipated debut EP, balloons don’t float here, the notion of referencing Pennywise The Dancing Clown’s most haunting line seems less far-fetched by the moment.
balloons don’t float here is an ominous and alluring collection of pop-flavored songs that, even at their most euphoric, feel as if they could be hiding just behind a constant haze. It is this immaculate balancing act between its more conventionally pop-oriented moments and darker inclinations that makes Dunbar’s debut EP all the more impressive. Dunbar illustrates this sentiment almost immediately in “woman on the hills,” which sees the teenage pop wunderkind weaving together a lush tapestry of disco-tinged sonics to tell a story of how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice for fame.
Dunbar’s uncanny ability to touch upon timeless fears and insecurities with a spellbinding grace belies the young artist’s age time and time again throughout balloons don’t float here’s eight-track run. Even in “ferrari,” which sees Dunbar at his most experimental and explosive, there is a restrained repose to be found amongst the grunge-reminiscent production and blares of electric guitars. And while “ferrari” may first and foremost surround the feeling of alienation caused by falling victim to baseless teenage rumors, the conviction behind Dunbar’s distorted vocals gives the entire affair a life-or-death quality.
The way in which Dunbar infuses an at times unnerving element to tracks that have no right being this infectious is not dissimilar to Billie Eilish’s own brand of ominous pop. Infectious, enthralling, and uncompromising, the future of pop belongs to these kids.
Listen to balloons don’t float here below:
For more from Isaac Dunbar, revisit the time we had the pop wunderkind perform “pharmacy” from his debut EP below.