Liquid Half Moon by IsletRelease date: November 18, 2016
Label: Shape Records
For those of you who have had the pleasure of seeing Islet live, you more than likely came away with a sense of having been involved in some cult which you are now willingly part of. Such is the random unhinged quality that happens as the band break down that fourth wall and bring the audience right into the music that on record they come across as slightly flat.
That is to miss the point of the band though and whilst their live shows are a celebration, their recorded output is much more cerebral. Often dense and difficult to grasp, once you find the key the music starts to unfurl in delightful ways. Changing tack from stuttering dance beats to glorious melodic chorus’, all the time leading you down the most unexpected paths, Islet play with your senses as if they belong to them.
After a brief hiatus Islet have now returned with Liquid Half Moon, a five track EP which carries on down the progressive route their previous release, Released By The Movement, did. There’s no need to feel short-changed by the wait either as Islet deliver what is their strongest and most consistent release so far. Sounding refreshed, the band have also reigned in some of the more random elements for a much more easy listening style. That’s not to say they have changed, that sense of everything could go wrong at any given moment remains.
Of a piece, the first three songs merge into one creating a wonderful conceptual piece as the delightful guitars and funky bass keep key themes going. Emma Thomas has never sounded so warm and inviting with moments reminding of St Etienne circa So Tough, the wistful vocals drifting over the gorgeous music. From the opening ‘Cathays Terrors’ to the closing of ‘Slide Out Of View’ you are taken on a midnight ride around the depths of Cardiff, a ride which feels like the most wonderful time ever as the surf guitar plays you out.
‘Men Pal’ is an existentialist cry for help as the sun rises after a long night. The mournful acceptance that echoes out the lyric “all we are is dust” sound both mournful and uplifting at the same time. A strange dichotomy that Islet encapsulate so well as a band.
For those of you looking for the wilder happenings in Islet’s world will be pleased to hear the hectic ‘Utopian Gnome Sanctuary’ revisits the upbeat moments of the past. Unusually it sounds like the opening of a new chapter here after the more chilled out fare that makes up the majority of the EP. It’s familiar ground and leaves is hoping that maybe the wait won’t be so long next time. This EP is a welcome return from one of the best bands around at the moment and once again we can look forward to joining their cult. Welcome back Islet.