Album Review // ISLAND ‘Feels Like Air’
Exploring themes of life, death, love and faith, ISLAND dazzle with the evocative harmony that is their debut full-length, Feels Like Air.
When ISLAND released their debut single Stargazer in 2015, I honestly thought they would never top that. But here they are, three years and two EPs later, with an album that is as intriguing as it is truly relatable.
On Feels Like Air the band sticks to what they know and do best. They don’t duplicate musical patterns though, they shift and bent their sonic palette adding in traces of bold originality. Self-aware and mature in their endeavours, ISLAND craft a compilation of songs that grasp, move and impress leaving listeners with a hunger for more.
Starting with sparkling guitars of the opener Ride, we’re being taken on a journey into the world of eerie melodies that patch their unique and radiant sound together. Intense and unsettling in a way, but also graceful throughout, the track comes across as a strong introduction to the band’s aesthetics.
With the exact precision, they balance on the verge of clear consciousness and vivid imagination. To say Feels Like Air is a dreamy album would be a great simplification and understatement, as there’s much more depth to it. Hidden within remodeled layers and textures, the meaning is there waiting to be uncovered.
One of the most outstanding tracks on the record, The Day I Die reveals that newly found sensibility and lyrical expansion. Delving into the theme of life in modern world, ISLAND keep the melody within the comfort zone of their signature atmospheric soundscape. The ardent rhythmic play and growling vocals create a truly magnificent aura, capturing the essence of an emotional turmoil.
The magnetic field created by sleek bass lines and driving drums is something to be envied when you listen closely to ISLAND’s entire catalogue. Dipping into the pensive ambience, Horizon beautifully exposes Rollo Doherty’s vocal range that is a focal point of the song. Elsewhere on the record, Something Perfect strikes with urgent guitars in an instant before the drums burst out into the chorus. Melodically catchy and lyrically reflective, the instrumentals cleverly alter and play with our moods.
The poignant We Can Go Anywhere possesses that ethereal factor allowing us to fall into a lucid dream once more, whilst the title track is an absolute marvel that has already proved to be one of the live favourites.
Closing in with the acoustic mellow Lilyflower, the band soar on a sense of melancholia and hopeless romanticism, keeping the integrity of the whole album intact.
I really tried not use any stargazing references this time, but it proved harder than expected. It turns out that dreaming of that place they liked has finally payed off and the stars are now within reach. ISLAND have achieved something purely authentic on their debut effort, something that will resonate and soothe even the most troubled souls.