It’s been seven years since Islet last released an album of experimental pop. In that time there’s been notable personal changes for the Powys trio: band members Emma and Mark Daman Thomas welcomed the birth of their second child, and Alex Williams lost his mother.
Yet these changes haven’t significantly translated into creative development. Their early days of creating songs out of jams may have passed but they continue to spurn anything as conventional as a USP, unless this is taking a jukebox approach to music making.
The range of styles on Eyelet broadly sit under the psych-pop umbrella but its eleven tracks lack a unifying theme. Flitting from the dream pop of ‘Caterpillar’, on which the crawling synth line emulates the insect’s movements, to the krautrock rhythms on ‘Radel 10’, which is named after the tabla drum machine it features, their free spirit alternately risks disorientating and frustrating the listener.
This lack of a cohesive thread is a shame because there’s plenty to enjoy about their third long player. ‘Geese’, in particular, has an ambition that they’d be encouraged to develop. Starting as a One Dove style chill out, it builds over seven minutes with textured hypnotic washes of synth until a drum kicks in to give it wings over a “fly, fly, fly” mantra. The duet ‘Treasure’ is another standout, having some of the understated synth-pop of Metronomy about it. Caught out between unrelated styles, however, the band make both individual tracks and the overall album forgettable too many times.