Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Islet's third outing is full of reflective, explorative psych wonderment


Release date: 06 March 2020
03 March 2020, 13:31 Written by Christopher Hamilton-Peach
The Welsh neo-psych wizards break a seven-year spell away from the studio - issuing a fresh mind-warping statement of intent.

Islet trip out of the searching, cathartic wilderness negotiated on sophomore Released By The Movement into an inviting, at times bewildering psychotropic storm. Recorded amidst the rolling rural foothills of Mid Wales, Eyelet shares a befittingly untamed, often tempestuous landscape; bridging beyond the borderless experimentalism of the trio’s first two records, fronting a sleeker-edged synth topography that augments rather than eclipses the familiar earthier elements of their established sound.

Since switching from self-owned label Shape to Fire Records last year, the outfit have gradually teased their re-emergence with a scattering of singles, flaunting a newfound predilection for baroque pop polish. Emma and Mark Daman Thomas along with Alex Williams chase increasingly melodic horizons on their third album, the unearthly properties that graced earlier releases amped up to an entirely different plane of existence. The outfit seem altogether more relaxed and conceptually geared in their craft here - songwriting is tight, cerebral and rounded with emotional depth, confidence seeping throughout what represents an act of rebirth in the band’s timeline.

The open-ended flux of debut Illuminated People seems, for the most part, a distant memory; a fine-tuned focus and cohesiveness guides Eyelet, an eagerness to confront and overturn preconceptions. Opulent electronic ambience filters “Good Grief” and “Treasure”, the latter channelling a Balearic beat energy that stands as the clearest example of the band venturing outwards from their comfort zone.

The oscillating motion of “Geese”, a homage to cultural theorist Raymond Williams’ historical novel People Of The Black Mountains, conjures a phantasmagorical sense of being; Emma Daman Thomas’ vocals swooping in a web of dizzying tonal textures, intersecting with effusive geographical attachment: “Wild wild / Wales, be my paradise / Be my paradise”. The clipped electro-pop buzz of “Sgwylfa Rock” and “Clouds” elsewhere gel in a palpitating ethereal vortex while “Florist” flourishes with synth-punctuated Yazoo-esque punch.

Striking a sensitive balance between loftier extended tracks and pared-down peppiness, Eyelet pinpoints Islet at a transformative juncture in their journey so far; pairing themes of motherhood, cultural identity and renewal with a mature sense of aural economy and precision. The formative spiral of ideas dabbled with on previous albums recedes, giving way to a pearl of accumulated wisdom - a new beginning for the three-piece that proves reflective, ambitious and openly confessional.

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