Live review: Islet at Sleazy’s, 15/10/13

x-defaultFiercely independent Cardiff four-piece Islet defies description and melts expectations of what to expect from a live band.

They take a seemingly standard set up of drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards and add a plethora of percussion, more cowbells than are strictly called for, and tear up the rulebook.

Swapping instruments, yelping, buzzing like flies, howling like dogs, sharing space with the intimate Sleazy’s crowd, they demonstrate what a precious commodity freedom of expression is in the hands of a band with the imagination to stretch beyond the ordinary.

Their second album proper, Released By The Movement, is a record that elicits reactions that bear very little resemblance to each other, such is the impossibility of pinning down an Islet sound.

Most are agreed upon the woozy psych and playfulness that has seen them compared to Deerhoof and Pavement.

Indeed, there is disorientation in their disregard for boundaries, and in their live show this becomes more obvious as they reinvent their line up for virtually every song.

The ricocheting guitar and clattering beats of ‘Carlos’ team up with stream of consciousness lyrics, becoming wordless or just noisy.

Rhythms are a reference point – at least three quarters of the band hit a drum, sometimes while still playing another instrument.

Album centrepieces ‘Tripping Through The Blue Room pts 1 & 2’ are presented here as a well honed jam, and an early and politely observed curfew ensures this is a short sharp set.

However when Emma Daman Thomas (at this point sitting behind the drums) invites “Anyone who wants to lose their shit on a Tuesday night” to get into the liberating spirit of their playful performance, it seems a shame that they can’t play for another half hour and really rip things up.

An Islet live show is a physical experience that deserves to be participated in, even on a Tuesday.

Islet is a band that operates entirely on their own terms, inviting contributions to their risk taking, while remaining thoroughly engaging and unique.

Words: Lucy Brouwer

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