I’ve been to Powys. As a Welshman, it’s my duty to visit every blade of green, green grass in my glorious country I can. However, on my journey through it’s wonderful pastures I don’t think I witnessed anything akin to Islet’s audio description of it on their latest Extended Player Wimmy. The opening barrage of noise is probably the sound I’d make if someone was hack-sawing into my head and things, yes, things, were escaping from it. What follows this is even more interesting; Tribal drums, a twisting riff, some yelping and calling. Islet are, quite possibly, one of the most interesting bands currently holed up in the UK making music. Their approach seems, to me at least, to throw the entire kitchen sink of sounds into a studio, record it, and see what happens. What makes this truly special is that it works. There’s hints, echoes and sounds of so many genres that you could spend a week of Sunday’s trying to find them all. It’s like listening to a Cryptic Crossword.
Whilst this might not be a full-fledged album, there’s acres of music to enjoy. The calling of ‘Ringerz’ stands out just for it’s straight-edged approach, like hearing Broken Social Scene through a blanket of fuzzy felts. The only real mis-step is the cod-White Man Reggae of ‘Horses and Dogs’. This sounds like the nightmare of The Police being beaten to death by The Stranglers whilst Wire looked on.
Fortunately ‘Dust of Ages’ gets us back to the good stuff. Baring an uncanny resemblance, through the vocals at least, of Radiohead, this is a slowly moving angel of sound. It feels like you’re in the eye of the hurricane - you know there’s chaos out there, and it’s close, but for the time being you’re in a serene, beautiful area of peace…
The closing duo of ‘Living in Manila’ and ‘Obtaining’ are great pieces of guitar pop. The latter is filled with muffled vocals and thundering drums. Think Yeasayer if they’d liked Black Metal rather than Talk Talk. There’s a clattering guitar riff snuggly tucked in there as well, just providing a piercing icicle of sound, driving the end of the track into the foot hills of madness. ‘Manila’ is more ethereal. A twinkling riff spreads notes like a blanket of stars across the vocal harmonies before its World music rhythms take over and drag it in a completely different direction. The guitar then comes back, specifically to tear through all this, thrashing around in a sea of chanting vocals. It’s intense, absorbing and amazing music, and that’s all you can ask.