November sees Shape Records release Welsh Post Punker’s Islet’s latest EP Liquid Half Moon. Never ones to shy away from experimentation, weird soundscapes and a non-traditional band set up (each member switches between instruments depending on the song and there is no set ‘lead singer’) this latest release from the four piece sees them as adventurous as ever, with a playfulness that is very much evident from the track names alone (Cathays Terror, Utopian Gnome Terror).
The EP starts with the aforementioned ‘Cathays Terror’ and has a great double time tinny drum beat with layers upon layers of instrumentation, reversed tracking and the vocals of Emma Thomas. There are occasional staccato guitar stabs in-between the already infectious riffs and wandering (even funky) bass line. And when Emma sings “I’m so glad I met you my sweet boy”, you are immediately transported into the band’s wonderfully idiosyncratic world.
‘Final Drive’ has a really nice reggae vibe with a keyboard driven melody and Emma’s gentle vocals. A duet with Alex, this really is a gorgeous song even though they sing about “burning buildings” – the romance is there and the track descends into a sparkling, electronic gloop at the end. Lovely stuff. As we progress, the bass seems to get funkier and funkier and the guitar and keyboards ever more otherworldly. ‘Slide Out Of View’ especially has one imagining orbiting Planet Islet and getting utterly lost in the shimmering guitars and effects. It floats along wonderfully and reaches a nice crescendo mid way through. It’s like nothing I have ever heard before.
The ethereal vocals continue throughout, and combined with distorted guitars (and at times deep throaty electronica), this only enhances the effect of free falling or floating in space; Islet really do produce quite astonishing music. At times this EP is both batshit crazy and hauntingly beautiful. But i guess that is what has kept them at the forefront of the Welsh music scene, and why this is such a welcome return.
Liquid Half Moon is released on 25th November 2016 through Shape Records.