Ellis Island Sound always have to be merging one genre with another, and what results is a musical marriage so preposterous it takes a dude in a suit with a handlebar moustache to pronounce "Well, this is preposterous!" to understand just how preposterous it is. Their last record, 'Regions', was billed as a meeting of Can-inspired krautrock and pulsating Afrobeat, while 'Divisions' apparently absorbs both "motorik and subtropical guitar". Believe what you want to believe, but as always, Ellis Island Sound are investigative, wide-eyed and full of exuberant songs for you to hear.
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Philip Glass, Philip Glass, Philip Glass. The first two tracks here are so Phillip Glass the band might as well reside in a New York Loft apartment writing spherical songs, but the album soon settles into a sweetly tuneful set of home-made instrumentals. Ellis Island Sound’s previous record was an oddly krauty affair with vocals, and though it ticked all the boxes to be a Norman favourite, it just fell short of becoming an office classic. This time they’ve gone the other way completely. There are very few motorik grooves, no vocals and instead you get the jittery almost circular compositions of the aforementioned Phillip Glass.
Its sweet, it's melodic, it sounds like the kind of thing that may have emerged in the ‘glory years’ of folk-tronica and neo-classical composition in the late 2010s. I moaned about their last record a bit, so I’m not going to moan about this. The compositions are melodic and the album hits its stride on ‘Asa Kusa’, where chiming guitars and soft organs are added to the palette. Melodic lines intertwine beautifully, and oh: when they bring an extra guitar in on the fade it's just heaven. The album continues in this vein with a series of precise and taut compositions that never outstay their welcome. It ain’t going to reinvent the wheel but I can think of worse ways for fans of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gareth S Brown, Steve Reich and the Penguin Cafe Orchestra to spend half an hour.
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- Divisions by Ellis Island Sound
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