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April 2020
Album review

Penelope Isles - Until the Tide Creeps In

Each fresh visit uncovers something new. Dive in.
Label: Bella Union
Released: 12th July 2019
Rating: ★★★★
Penelope Isles - Until the Tide Creeps In
Published: 12:31 pm, July 11, 2019Words: Jamie MacMillan.

Joining a band with one of your siblings can often go one of two ways. It either descends into anarchy and outright war, one eventually hitting the other with a cricket bat (yes Oasis, we are looking at you), or it becomes the most perfect meeting of minds imaginable. Thankfully Jack and Lily Wolter of Brighton’s Penelope Isles need not plan a visit their local sports store, as it would seem to be very much the latter on the evidence of this lush and dreamy debut.

Considering the album title, and the coastal background of the Wolters, life by the shore ripples through everything here. Much of ‘Until The Tide Creeps In’ seems to exist in a dream state, one where themes and thoughts drift intangibly just out of reach, aided in part by the sheer ambiguity to Jack’s lyrics. With an unhurried vibe, the record flitters freely and goes where it will - as much time and importance given over to the texture and atmosphere as anything else.

The pace is changed frequently whenever Lily takes over vocals, her voice adding a whole new dimension on the likes of the strange psychedelic flight of fancy ‘Underwater Record Store’. At the heart of it all lies the gargantuan live favourite ‘Gnarbone’. The skeleton around which the rest of the record is formed, it earns every second of its seven minutes as it soars towards the heavens. Elsewhere, things are kept lo-fi as echoes of Pavement and Deerhunter creep in around the edges before listeners are brought safely back to land for a gorgeous finale set amidst garden vistas and birdsong.

For a record that is in no rush to go anywhere, an equivalency is demanded from the listener. Don’t expect everything to be revealed upon first listen, but just as surely as the tide, each fresh visit uncovers something new. Dive in.

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