Islet - Wimmy

Owain Paciuszko 21/10/2010

Rating: 4/5

The second record from Cardiff-based four piece Islet picks up where previous release Celebrate This Place left off, continuing its jazzy psych-rock vibe with skittering opening track Powys that shunts its clattering, dreamy alt-dance sound amongst melodic and prog-punk asides, climaxing with the sound of the quartet's vocals literally running around the room. It's immediately bettered by Ringerz with its echoey Casiotone and The Rapture-like percussive stylings, the lyrics are uplifting and euphoric flitting from the abstract ramblings of the verses into a yelped chorus, taking a detour into a 'stripped down' bridge before an explosive cacophony of noise that typifies an Islet live performance where audience and band intermingle and tambourines fly across the stage like ninja throwing stars.

Islet consist of members and former-members of many wonderful Cardiff bands, and they've gained a certain reputation for both their fun and infectious performance style and allowing hype to generate in the 'good old fashioned way' by not having a MySpace. It's almost a shame that you get a download code with the vinyl release of this six track, but you'll undoubtedly want to listen to these songs without the aid of a turntable strapped to your back.

Side A closes with Horses and Dogs a more groove-based tune with repetitive vocals that has shades of Clinic covering Tricky, it doesn't quite hit the heights of a track like the similarly tempoed Rowan from the first record, but it keeps twisting off into enough different directions from squeaky Bumblebeez asides to Mathy Truckers of Husk style guitar noodlings.

Dust Of Ages owes a lot to Them Squirrels, another project of JT who provides the vocals at this track's out-set, it's creaking soundtrack and his falsetto cooing it's highly evocative and bewitching, dimpled by various surreal squeaks and scuttles. Its beat becomes a near trip-hop shimmy once his vocal dips out to be replaced by Emma Daman's, and the back and forth between these two styles makes for an elegant start to Side B like a mash-up between Portishead and The Beta Band.

Living in Manila begins like a maudlin refrain before hurtling down into a carnival percussive rattle off-set by exploratory guitar that erupts into a squall of noise, before switching back on itself into a jazz-muzak dream sequence of cooing vocals and then... It's all over the shop in a fashion that may frustrate those who want to stay with one delightful melody or riff for longer, but its wealth of good ideas is exhilirating and a guessing game of moods that sends the listener into their own private, erratic mosh pit. Closing track Obtaining begins like a garage recorded demo for a disco tune performed by Pavement, its choppy little riff a slinky delight that is pitched perfectly against JT's lilting vocal and the darker choral sections.

This is a more abstract record than their previous release, which, by comparison, feels a bit more structured song-wise, but their experimental sound is consistently enjoyable and they've successfully managed to distill what makes their live shows such as a talked about experience into these recordings.