Today, Island of Love release their EP ‘Songs of Love’ – a whirlwind tour of odes to loved ones, grunge and youthful angst through the ages. The 12-minute EP is a guide through the hardcore musical histories that brought Karim, Linus, Jimmy and Daniel together, but also strikes a common chord with indie, doo-wop and blues enthusiasts.
Following on from their first album ‘Promo Tape’ (a bedroom production job in collaboration with Fuzzbrain Studios), ‘Songs of Love’ continues to explore the depths of lo-fi. The EP subtly refines this haze, allowing the various elements (especially the guitars) to cut through the mix more prominently. This also means the pensive but cheeky lyrics penned by Karim and Linus – eg “thinking of you makes me want to lie down and die” – are now stamped in memory.
When we chatted to the band for Issue 34 last summer, the four-piece told us how they bonded over “Slayer and Napalm Death.” ‘At Home’ – the EP’s opening track – is the most obvious homage to this genre. Headfirst we charge into the music, propelled by a stampede of drums. This is complemented by guitar riffs resonant of 2000s indie bands, but also chord progressions you’d expect to hear at a 60s prom filled with awkward teenagers, holding their partners at arms length.
‘Songs of Love’ continues to meander through the decades. Swaying seamlessly between heavy verses ruminating on romance and blues-rock choruses. The track inclines you to bob your head and snap in the style of Frankie Valli and his Four Seasons, but decked out in death mask face paint and leather cuffs.
‘Headcase’ provides the EP’s release; with its disharmonies and scratches harking on the bands earlier material. The slow pace of this track allows the thoughtfulness of the lyrics to take centre stage. Though undoubtedly playful, the words take on a more confessional tone here; alluding to the band’s feelings of “inadequacy” prior to picking up an instrument, and the subsequent voice playing music gave them. Without a doubt, this voice is sophisticated, confident, and wholly charming.
‘Cut Your Losses’ rounds up the album; a longing track mashing indelicate shredding with more innocent sha-la-la’s – two elements you wouldn’t expect to work together, but courtesy of IOL, unsurprisingly do. A jangly piano brings the EP to a close – it’s as if you’ve walked into an empty bar and in the corner sits Jack White twinkling away. The acoustic twangs that echo around the deserted room complement the melodies explored through the album, drawing the EP to a softened close.
‘Songs of Love’ provides a brief, but dense insight into Island of Love’s music. It seems cruel that the EP is only 12-minutes long – it leaves listeners wanting so much more. The band’s live performances are equally as electrifying. So electrifying in fact, that Third Man Records’ co-founder Ben Swank offered the band a deal thirty-seconds after their gig at the label’s new flagship store in Soho (so new that drummer Jimmy’s back was drenched in paint by the end).
Island of Love have been heralded for ushering in a new era of guitar music – revamping the genre for the masses. Though such statements are bold, with every release this chat is increasingly plausible. It’s an undoubtedly exciting future ahead for Island of Love, and one we’re excited to see play out.
The new issue of So Young is out now! Issue Thirty-Six features interviews with Wet Leg (Print Cover), Jockstrap (Online Cover, below), Black Country, New Road, Metronomy, NewDad, Teeth Machine, ENUMCLAW, Been Stellar, Blue Bendy, BODEGA, Catcher and more. Order your copy here or read the digital edition below.