Out today Islet return with new single ‘Lemons’ taken from new album ‘Soft Fascination’ set for release on 29th September on Fire Records. Their new album is a wild excursion into the latest incarnation of this ever-changing Islet; an assurgent album infused with hope and beauty.
With the return of founding member JT they’re a quartet again, they’ve developed their definition and re-focussed their vision with a breath-taking new album, ‘Soft Fascination’.
Here the band members commit to one instrument each and this fixing of roles is a shiny new consistency for the band who have previously switched instruments. “This iteration of Islet with JT on the drums is one of my favourites and was just what we needed; a new discipline and focus. We wrote quickly, improvising together. The coming together of the four of us in one room, to play live and loud, was so important! It felt magical.” says vocalist and bassist Emma.
Self-produced and with the instrumentals recorded live with few overdubs the effect is direct, in your face and immediate. Recorded & mixed by Joy Stacey and mastered by Katie Tavini, this is a record of now. There’s a grit that brings the band closer to a spiky punk energy than they’ve ever got before. “We wanted to do something that was less pretty than the last record,” says Emma, “more direct, more energy. The songs are shorter, leaner and more stripped back”.
The first half of the record is intentionally fast, intense, almost relentless. The second half is more spacious, with a largely instrumental track opening the side as the album unravels and becomes more hazy.
Here there is excitement and fascination and a willingness to show a lack of restraint in realising it, traversing hailstorms, hedgerows, broken promises and poisoned prayers; constantly breathing real life all in.
“The album is named ‘Soft Fascination’ after that state of mind where focus drifts. Attention is diffused and the mind can wander. It’s about letting yourself go, being part of something that’s much bigger than ourselves.” Emma
Side one opener, ‘Euphoria’ is a rush of blood: high energy beats and pummeling distortion. A meditation on collective joy and a scene setter for proceedings. It’s a distillation of what the band was trying to achieve on the record.
“It’s about repetition and volume and feeling subsumed into sound, the coming together of crowds and the merging or separation of consciousness when a body is divided through childbirth or being so in lust, in love that you feel you can dissolve into another person.”
The subject of ‘River Body’ is a river and the liberating flows of energy that allow people or bodies to follow their own course.
‘Hat Person’ could be about a person who’s afraid of wearing hats. And it could be about how we define ourselves, what we do with all this choice in our lives.
Set to release their new album this autumn, Islet will be heading out on the road for a number of UK live dates to celebrate the release.
‘Soft Fascination’ is out 29th September. Available in Limited Edition Clear Vinyl & CD.
29 Sep: Rough Trade, Bristol, UK
30 Sep: Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff, UK
04 Oct: The Lexington, London, UK