London youngsters Island have been making waves with their fervent indie pop over a couple EPs and their single Try, which is taken from their debut album Feels Like Air. There’s a limited edition coloured vinyl version if you’re quick, otherwise you can get black vinyl and a lavishly packaged CD. On French Kiss.
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Island have presumably spent their lifetime waiting to deliver this their debut album and the singer decides that the first few seconds is the exact right time in their career to sound exactly like the singer from the Stereophonics. But despite him coughing up a hairball the music is actually rather enjoyable. It's chiming, evocative rock somewhere between the XX and the Wild Beasts - the guitars are nicely clipped and the performances are as muted as the wrought vocals aren't.
Island are the kind of band I'd probably like if they had some subtlety to their vocal delivery but tracks like 'The Day I Die' remind me of one band and one band only and that is U2. As John from the Quietus recently said, listening to U2 is like seeing a shit on a pizza - it doesn't matter how delicious the ingredients seem, there's always that unpalatable shit plonked on top. Alas, to me Island have the same affect. Some of the music here is utterly lovely but I can't get on with the vocalist. It's not his fault as vocalists are always the thing that tickles your tastebuds or tortures them. Who were the last band you heard where you said "I really love them but just can't stand the bass playing"? Nobody that's who. But he doesn't help himself by sounding like a vomiting Bono on the otherwise delightful 'Interlude' and anyway there's the overriding sense that this is music made for people who find Daughter a little too challenging.
Maybe I'll get used to it given time but probably not.
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- Feels Like Air by Island
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