This new sin­gle by IST IST was launched in Decem­ber but we’re flag­ging it up as we’re excit­ed about the band’s upcom­ing album. Mary In the Black and White Room is tak­en from the Man­ches­ter band’s upcom­ing third album called Pro­tag­o­nists, out 31st March, via Kind Vio­lence records. 

IST IST pro­duce a dense and uncom­pro­mis­ing gui­tar and synth post-punk sound, anchored by the phe­nom­e­nal, doomy bari­tone of lead singer Adam Houghton. The band’s debut album Archi­tec­ture, released in 2020 was replete with dra­ma and goth­ic sym­bol­ism, raw and intense. 

Mary in the Black and White Room sees IST IST move in a lit­tle more synth dri­ven direc­tion. The lyrics are intrigu­ing. Say the band: “The track is is inspired by a thought exper­i­ment pro­posed by the philoso­pher Frank Jack­son that has become known as ‘the knowl­edge argu­ment’ (or ‘Mary’s room’). Hypoth­e­sis­ing the work of a sci­en­tist called Mary, who exists in a black and white world where she has exten­sive access to phys­i­cal descrip­tions of colour, but no actu­al human per­cep­tu­al expe­ri­ence of colour; Jackson’s the­o­ry won­ders whether Mary will gain new knowl­edge if she actu­al­ly expe­ri­ences see­ing colour.”

Adds front­man Adam Houghton: “Mary in the Black and White Room is about try­ing to fig­ure out if expe­ri­ence trumps knowledge.”

It’s an intrigu­ing track which sees IST IST, in com­mon with the band’s work up to this point, remain uncom­pro­mis­ing in their endeav­our to stay true to their craft and their message. 

To mark the release, IST IST will be play­ing a spe­cial home­town launch show for the new record at the Man­ches­ter Ritz in March, plus a set at Whitby’s Tomorrow’s Ghosts Fes­ti­val plus fur­ther dates list­ed on their web­site IST IST Music.

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