Over a year in the making, scene supergroup Isles & Glaciers are finally releasing their debut [and perhaps only] EP, The Hearts of Lonely People, this March. The group, comprised of Craig Owens [ex-chiodos], Jonny Craig [Emarosa], Nick Martin [Underminded], Matt Goddard [Chiodos], Brian Southall [TREOS], and brothers Vic and Mike Fuentes [Pierce the Veil], took only ten days to write and record this EP last Spring, but due to each member’s schedule, had no time to release or promote the record until now. Containing only 7 tracks, The Hearts of Lonely People seems poised for greatness based on the members’ resumes alone, but can this much talent work together successfully? That’s what we’re here to find out.
“Kings and Cheerleaders,” the introductory track on the record, serves little purpose but to make “Hills Like White Elephants” less than 5 minutes long. The two songs flow seamlessly together and create an elaborately expansive sonic atmosphere for Owens, Craig, and Fuentes to churn out their signature croons on. There’s a subtle industrial feel to “Hills” that continues throughout the release as “Clush,” the best track on the record, begins to play. Here we have yet another large scale song with our three vocalists sharing duties, but Craig easily steals the spotlight with a near RnB croon on the bridge. The lines, “Stare all you want, cause you know that we’re on top, this is all that we know, this is everything you want, if you can’t stand on your own, then speak up and let us know, tones will change, curtains will drop, who knew the top could be so f*cking ugly,” will crawl into your skull and rattle for weeks without you thinking once to complain because its just that good.
It is in the instrumentation of “Empty Sighs & Wine” that we find some of the best song structure anyone in this group has ever produced. A flood of synth leads the pack, but the bass work of Goddard rattles in the background along with Southall’s pounding drums to create a quick flowing track that packs a quite an emotional punch as Vic Fuentes belts a hook that will become engrained in your system within hours of being heard. The following track, “Oceans for Backyards” serves the same purpose as “Kings and Cheerleaders” only this time its to introduce the very melancholy “Viola Lion.” While the instrumentation and structure are once again beautifully done, the track falls a bit flat in the vocal department. All three vocalists are known for their higher range and it does make for great cohesiveness, but three high range guys harmonizing or worse, trying to sing different parts at once, becomes a bit annoying rather quickly. Luckily, the seven minute closing track, “Cemetery Weather,” has enough to offer that the faults of the previous track will most likely go unnoticed in the long run. Starting very moody with an extra large helping of synth and other electronic sounds, the group takes their time with everything and really create a moving work of art that closes the record on a somber, but fitting note.
Isles & Glaciers break a lot of new ground with The Hearts of Lonely People. Not only is it one of the first “underground supergroups,” but the overall sound of the record is unique to the group and not too influenced by any one member. While most of the members belong to bands known for being heavy and even having breakdowns, most of Hearts is synth laced and filled with harmonies and melodies as opposed to screams. While the group does make sure to touch base with their more familiar sounds, this release really showcases just how creative each member of the group can be. No two tracks [unless meant to] sound alike and even the lengthy closer has a hook you’ll be singing for weeks to come. What more could you possibly ask for?
Review written by: James Shotwell