It’s an album forged out of the Cardiff-based collective’s strong ties to a DIY sense of thinking and more outré passions in the arts. The subsequent ten tracks stand as a bold opening statement from a band that have quickly proven themselves masters of finding the common thread between at-first seemingly disparate influences.
That they’ve had the confidence to do this lies on an early decision to take control of their entire aesthetic – releasing on Shape Records, an entirely independent label run by the group’s Mark Thomas. Islet have always sought to maintain direct contact with people in a less oppressive manner than the constant internet bombardment others pursue. Self-made zines, with artwork and layout all done in house provide the group’s main mouthpiece, a device that harks back to the 80s golden age of DIY. But one which has become relevant again as music lovers seek to find more personalised and unique ways to connect with their favourite acts. Crucially, the zines are available only on request, the thought being that if you like their music enough you will come to them.
This doesn’t mean the group are closed to outside influences. Illuminated People marks a first in that they’ve allowed someone other than themselves to take the reins on recording, with producer Drew Morgan stepping in to bring together what amounts to a montage of sprawling, searching sound.
On this record the group’s third-eye opening mix of Gang Gang Dance-leaning rhythms and Kraut-reaching instrumental breakdowns can breathe, something that’s illustrated perfectly in the hugely ambitious nine minute opener ‘Libra Man’. There’s the still a clear sense of free abandon, of group members swapping instruments and songs forming from the nucleus of jams, half-ideas and fleeting thoughts re-visited and built on to take on entirely new meaning and structure. ‘Entwined Pines,’ for instance starts out with ghostly choirs and wisp-on-the-wind vocals, skipping through noise rock and ending up ferocious post-punk though – and this is the key part – without feeling overly forced or tacked on.
1. Libra Man
2. This Fortune
3. Entwined Pine
7. We Bow
11. A Bear On His Own