Islet is a Welsh quartet whose free-spirited invention and exuberant intensity is hypnotic, exhilarating and defiantly unique.
They began in Cardiff in 2009 when Emma Daman and brothers Mark and John ‘JT’ Thomas resolved to form a band with one rule: that anything was possible. Soon after, they were joined by Alex Williams. The band had no lead singer or set roles, switching instruments from song to song, melding psych rock, ethereal atmospherics and jagged post punk, with most gigs seeing the walls and spectators played as instruments. They were soon surrounded by a buzz of excitement and mystique, their live shows joyful abandon and unleashed energy. They wrote about their philosophy in their own zine, started a festival and were stalwarts of the Welsh DIY community. Two albums (Illuminated People, 2012 – shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize – and Released By The Movement, 2013) and a handful of EPs (Celebrate This Place, 2010; Wimmy, 2010, Liquid Half Moon, 2016) followed, released on their own label, Shape Records.
“Wandering, woozy, glitch-bedded mood pieces fusing trance-era textures and fragmented melodies” MOJO
“The perfect mix of experimentation and entertainment, brain and heart engaged simultaneously” Stewart Lee
In 2019, Islet signed to Fire Records, home of many an experimental deep thinker and everyday cult icon. Islet released their critically acclaimed, Welsh Music Prize shortlisted, third full length album Eyelet in 2020 as a three-piece following JT’s temporary departure from the band. Eyelet featured tracks of crystalline beauty shot through with the band’s devious pop sensibility. Emma Daman Thomas moved into focus with her vocals shapeshifting from airy to unleashed against a synth-driven sound with unexpected shifts of rhythm.
Three years on, the three are a four again. Founding member JT has now returned on drums, this fixing of roles a shiny new consistency. This Islet is more defined, more direct; veering from the high energy beats intensity of side one of new album Soft Fascination, to its less orthodox but no less infectious flipside.
Islet is all about being subsumed in sound, with a fierce urge to challenge, to embrace, communicate, excite and, ultimately, set their audience free. They are following their own course, awash with synthesisers with a rhythmic pulse creating a delicate balance between repetition, volume and the romance of time, an ecstatic experience through music.
Soft Fascination is released 29th September on Fire Records. They’ll be performing live shows across the UK around the album’s release this Autumn.
“Unhinged, euphoric, wonderful.” Pitchfork
“They invigorate the sense of life on the margins with this whirlwind of psychedelic pop” The Guardian