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Island of Love – Island of Love Review

With Jack White rubbing the mystic ball of praise before Island of Love release their self-titled debut, standards are set. Indie rockers Island of Love has the appeal of heavy guitars and indie rock overhauls, and it lends itself nicely to their first record. Planting their flag on Island of Love and wasting no time getting to terms with their style on opener Big Whale, it would appear the four-piece is as monumental and heavy as the animal they appear obsessed with. Karim Newble and Linus Munch share guitar and vocal duties, their split to the benefit of listeners who find themselves wrapped up in the generous portions of quality riffs which suit being played by a doubled-over, long-haired guitarist on a stage whose name is not big enough for written documentation. 

Maintaining tone and style with no real difficulty, the natural appeal of Island of Love comes from its wall of sound style. Loud and large guitar work, confident approaches to monotone and heavy groans from a time before the 2020s. Tinges of nostalgia form for a time never lived. At the same time as a fresh kick to the head, Island of Love overhaul their sound and add sprinkles of the early 2000s in there, moments of reminiscent charm on single Fed Rock are nicely placed after the bold and lengthy Big Whale beast. Where Grow comes and goes with little fanfare, it is to bridge the gap into extraordinary, heavy guitar work on Blues 2000, a neat instrumental, a short and sweet experiment. Island of Love has time to do just that, experiment with their sound. Crucial moments. 

At ease with guitars receding into the background on Sweet Loaf, Island of Love give a chance to their lyrics. Swaying and waltzing charmers they are, indie relativity broad feelings and indications of insanity make the most of their time in the spotlight. But those fringes of insanity are squared up by next track I’ve Got the Secret, a goading note, a fallout which Island of Love believes is the solution to lunacy. Just let him go. Those assured and angry yelps from the frontman are spotty and sudden, dipping and riding the storm Island of Love has within it, and as Losing Streak calms things down once more, the clear indicators of quality come in individual moments, rather than as a broad whole. Hoping to impress with their sporadic shots and rhythms, Island of Love succeed. 

Whatever comes next for these revival rockers is unknowable, but the harsh tones, the loudness and wall of sound effect which lines underneath a band with something to prove are exciting and imitable. Cooling off with a Weekend at Clive’s acoustic interval gives listeners a break which they may or may not need. For those in the latter camp, simply thrash your head in time with the chord changes and keep the blood rushing to your head. For the civil crowd, enjoy a stripped-back break from a loud, brash and exciting style. Island of Love is just that, exciting and wild in all the right places but the group of the same name inject their lyrical style in those latter tracks, Charles and Never Understand real highlights of what can and will come for a talented bunch.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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