Brighton band Penelope Isles emerged in the indie rock scene with a fresh perspective, pushing the boundaries of what an album truly represents. Siblings Jack and Lily Wolter impressed the likes of Stereogum and Paste Magazine with their single “Leipzig,” before they had even released their first album. And “Until The Tide Creeps In” does not disappoint. Their debut album, released on Bella Union, displays the extent of their abilities while deserting cohesiveness with a youthful and reckless abandonment.
The album begins with “Chlorine,” a shoegaze song through and through that demands your attention while dancing all up and down the fretboard. “You left your head out. I hope it clears,” Jack quips. With “Round,” Penelope Isles pleasantly fills the room with lilting vocals that call to mind the magical harmonies behind The Walters. “Coming up just to see if you’re okay,” Lily sings, not seeking anything too out of reach.
The album has everything from speak-singing and heavy electric guitar to layers of dreamy harmonies. “Not Talking” is a blur, like waking up and sliding back into a dream. The album features an array of melodies that range from the lo-fi vulnerability of Youth Lagoon to groovy indie rock. “Leipzig” has received much praise, and for good reason. As with the entirety of the album, the song embraces contrast by balancing their reverb-drenched guitars with sweet harmonies and a strong vocal presence.
Penelope Isles has tried their hand at so many different sounds, opening a cluster of sonic doors while paying little attention or care to the typical cohesive nature of an album. Their future career will certainly be an interesting watch. For now, fans are sure to be gratified by the wide span of “Until The Tide Creeps In.”
Words: Anjali DasSarma / @anjalidassarma