Penelope Isles – Metal

It is either a spiritual correlation linking my mood to the music, or perhaps just a sheer coincidence, but when Brighton group Penelope Isles sent us over their new video for upcoming single ‘Metal’, my emotions suddenly found that they had a musical soundtrack. Feeling relatively calm, collected and contemplative on this particular day, I initially decided to listen to the track without watching the video (I feel the visual can sometimes spoil the auditory details), and so when I first heard the introductory accordion weaving its way into to my auditory awareness, I was provided with an offsetting sense for the drizzling rain I was looking vacantly at through the window. Enchanted, I listened as the track majestically continued onwards, introducing an ethereal blend of vocals, delicate rolls of synth lines, balanced guitar parts and percussive elements that crept up on me. The track is a beautiful encapsulation of what the band are trying to achieve. Certainly in the first half of the track they fulfil their promise of capturing sounds that blend between a ‘live sound and lucid dreaming’ whilst the second half of the track reinforces their objective to create music with a ‘fuzz filled, DIY lo-fi approach’, encapsulated by the introduction of a steady beat – driven by the snare – that upon its arrival, pulls with it into the equation, a lethargic bass line that has been lost in the sea of fantastical music bubbling underneath. After every listen I am finding new tracks featuring in the mix, that hint to us both the fine details and the thought processes that the band have put into the recording. As a self-produced track the band have articulated every detail with the greatest detail. For example, take the ping-pong delay of what sounds like a mallet instrument that filters its way into the track around the 2.30 mark, it contributes a layer that continues to build towards the immense crescendo whilst  sitting finely in place alongside reverb-soaked, multi-layered guitar tracks. The arrangement too is also noteworthy as it keeps me guessing each time I listen as to where the track is going, even though technically I should already know the unfolding nature of the song unless of course say, my short term memory is that weak from one too many late nights on the tiles. But of course, its not a case of memory loss, its just clever writing by the group that lapses me into recurring surprise at the song’s twists and turns.  After much appreciation of the audio I decide to watch the accompanying music video. Like the production, arrangement and the music itself, the video is of course created with a very definite stylistic narrative; surreal, imaginative and inspiring. The band affirm their stance on the edge of reality with singer Lily ambling around, wistfully longing for the answers that the video puts forward to us during the opening slide, with the eloquent phrase ‘there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t even started wondering about yet’.  Lily, as if upon hearing this, has decided she can only investigate the wonders of nature by means of wearing a space-suit. As ridiculous as this sounds, it works – watch it. Its quirky and its lo-fi but most importantly it enhances the music. So to answer my own opening question: no, spiritual intervention or divine signs have not contributed to me hearing this music on this particular day for me, and furthermore it is most definitely not a coincidence that it accommodates feelings of calmness, nostalgia and dream-like states; this is music that has very cleverly been created to do exactly this.

Here is the link for the video:


Words by Robbie Cully

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