Portland Arms, Cambridge 7/10/2010

An islet is defined as being a very small island. There are also the ‘islets of Langerhans’ -the regions of the pancreas that contain its hormone-producing cells. Which might Islet the band be? They could be the latter, given their frantic and rather hormonal performance this evening but my money is on the former, if only for the fact that they have placed themselves out on their own by refusing to pander to the internet age to sell themselves. Yes, Islet are the sort of band for indie-kids to feel smug about for this very reason. Because they are a discovery- the quartet make weird noises and they have far more important to things to think about than what they’re wearing (apparently). These two points are the foundation for their live show, not least because part of their set includes one of them tearing their top off, whilst the rest of them are busy looking for the next part of the small back room to use as percussion. The fan at the back of the stage is apparently useful here.




As such then, Islet might be a hard act to get your head around. You want to like them because they are doing something different but something else underlying means that they border on pretentious, or at best, hang on the coat tails of legendary acts like Sonic Youth, for want of a better comparison to their noisy approach to what is predominantly shoegazing rock. That said, their fascination with improvisation of course makes them interesting. No-one is entirely sure what is going to happen next but, needless to say, there remains a danger that this could end up alienating a music-lover who wants to have something to belong to, to sing along to, whilst Islet are all about creating a sensual and brooding space around themselves, mesmerizing but detached at the same time, more of a bizarre art form than regular musicians. Something that really has to be seen for yourselves.

Anna C