When you are told that a band has been signed to a record label immediately after their show, in the same amount of time it takes to take a second outside for a cigarette break, you are already intrigued. Island Of Love have formed a name for themselves being one of the best live outfits in the country, following their invitation to play The Blue Basement venue in Third Man Records, shortly after its opening in September 2021. Now, after leading up to two years at the label – Island Of Love finally release their debut, self-titled album, an album that is both bright and punchy, yet also captures the band’s ability to slow things down, transitioning into tender moments from eruptive blasts.
Opener ‘Big Whale’ sets the tone for the album, vicious and raucously loud yet jampacked with melody. Pieced together with thunderous drumbeats, wailing guitar and infectious riffs, the five-minute opener is a perfectly crafted opener introduction to the band that proves the quality of their musicianship.
The previous single, ‘Fed Rock’, follows, allowing the vocals of co-frontman Linus Munch to come to the table, highlighting the way in which Island Of Love seamlessly share songwriting, guitar and vocal duties between their members. Featuring the guitar-driven instrumentation that Island Of Love are synonymous with, alongside gigantic pop hooks, the track is engrained into the band’s roots, firmly riotous, full to the brim with ‘made for the mosh pit’ energy.
Sticking with the theme of pop-doused hooks yet at full, rock volume, ‘I’ve Got The Secret’ is another offering of just that. Self-proclaimed as the band’s ‘most ridiculous song yet’, the track covers themes of paranoia, the inability to let go of someone you care about, and the feelings that arrive alongside it.
Double A-side, ‘Grow / Blues 2000’, then arrives in two parts, the former an enthralling slice of indie-rock, pulled from the band’s earliest demos, paired with the latter, pulling ‘Grow’ into the here-and-now, ‘Blues 2000’ showcases duelling guitars, something that has already become a highlight in the band’s live performances, in a short but sweet demanding instrumental number that merges flawlessly with ‘Grow’ whilst making it feel refreshed and new.
Enabling the album to feel not too overwhelming, tracks like ‘Sweet Loaf’ – a nod to Black Sabbath, which aligns itself more with Pink Floyd co-founder, Syd Barrett in aesthetics, and closer, ‘It Was All OK Forever’, slow things down, giving time for the listener to reflect on what they have been treated to this far, whilst also enabling the band to capture the band’s ability to transition from tender, stripped back moments back into igneous blasts both gracefully and compellingly.
The debut album from Island of Love shows them to be gearing up to become masters of their craft. Providing something that is both noisy and boisterous yet effortlessly creating quieter to elevate the power of its louder parts, the album is the sound of a band that has worked tirelessly to be in the position that they are today. Perfectly capturing the balance of an album that was written in a bedroom yet homed in live shows, Island of Love have produced a near-perfect debut that is sure to see them reach new heights.