Title: Illuminated People
Release date: 23rd January 2012
Label: Shape Records (Turnstile)
Words by Tomas Dickinson
After two successful releases in 2010, Cardiff-based DIY enigmas Islet unleash their debut album ‘Illuminated People‘ this month. 2011 saw a summer of festival appearances, spreading their DIY approach to the masses with home made ‘zines, self made record labels and album art work provided exclusively by band members. It also saw the music press running in circles looking for online demos, myspace pages and on-tour tweets from a band that stay strictly offline, period.
‘Illuminated People‘ is a suitably experimental album and because of this it can only be described as bipolar as it metamorphosizes from track to track. Opener ‘Libra Man‘ provides an epic nine-minute journey in which vocals sweep through your headphones and the bands signature aggressive percussion crashes inside your head. This couldn’t sound much more different to album closer ‘A Bear on His Own‘ which features calliope-style organ lines and zigzag vocals giving it an almost circus feel. The other thirty-three minutes or so has equally as many different moments.
‘Funicular‘ provides us with the best vocal performance of the whole album, Caribbean style guitar and a complex yet delicate percussion which all of a sudden breaks down into a haze of melting vocals and crashing cymbals. On ‘Entwined Pines‘ shimmering, glistening synth work and equally as chilled percussion compliment pensive melodies until manic guitar riffs and cymbals return in a frenzied closing breakdown. The stand out track though, is ‘What We Done Wrong‘ which mixes fuzzy, electro-blues guitar riffs and chopped vocals resulting in the most upbeat, energetic song on the record. It begins with haunting, choir-of-angels style vocals then bursts into a bluesy guitar riff loaded with a crunchy fuzz tone, before, once again, the drummer lets loose on the cymbals. Female/male vocals criss-cross throughout, sampled melodies provide back up and the end products is a fast paced, upbeat track that still remains experimental in nature.
‘Illuminated People‘ is a worthy debut from Cardiff’s internet recluses and provides us with a rare treat; an album that experiments with so much, leaving content so varied that there is possibly something here for everyone. You really have to hear it to believe it.
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