Sunday, 16 September 2018

INFANT ISLAND

BandINFANT ISLAND
GenresPunk / Post-Rock / Hardcore / Post-Hardcore / Emo / Screamo / Skramz / Ambient / Shoegaze / Experimental
Related artistsSonnet, Maidenhair and smallhands.
CountryFredericksburg, Virginia U.S.A.
Years Active2016-present
Song: "A Preoccupation"
Album: "Infant Island"
Year: 2018
For fans ofRespire, Trachimbrod, The Spirit Of Versailles, Vi Som Älskade Varandra Så Mycket, Love/Lust, Locktender, LKTDOV, And Always, Brighter Arrows, ...Who Calls So Loud, Funeral Diner, City Of Caterpillar, Suffocate For Fuck Sake and Angel Eyes aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Self Released / Zegema Beach Records / Middle Man Records / Dingleberry Records / Conditions Records
This post's artist is from the September 2018 Mix. This is track #7.
You can download: the September 2018 Mix#9 right here or get the new October 2018 Mix#10 here.

Sometime in early summer 2018 I received a message from Alexander Rudenshiold, the guitarist for Fredericksburg's INFANT ISLAND. Essentially, they asked if I could help release their debut 12" record. I jammed it twice and enjoyed it, but I was strapped for cash and wasn't in love...yet. A few weeks went by and I jammed it more and more. And then some more. Guess what? MORE. MORE AND MORE AND MORE. Okay, you get the idea. So I contacted Alexander and said that I couldn't commit to a 12" but could do an exclusive run of tapes for them, because goddammit I'd come around and then some.

So what the heck do they sound like? And wait...they're not from Richmond? Well they don't sound like your typical Richmond band, so I guess it makes sense. INFANT ISLAND do a much slower, lo-fi, epic and driving take on screamy post-hardcore with ambient, shoegaze leanings. In 2016 they released a hard to find cassette 'split with Maidenhair', housing a demo version of "Broken Pieces" and a 10-minute, very quiet, instrumental jam called "II".

Now that I think about it, Alex first contacted me in 2017 when they were looking to release and promote their tape and lathe 10" 'split with smallhands'. This also contains two tracks, both sounding more fleshed out and better recorded, including the demo version of "Diminish" and a track titled "Fall Into Their Hell" which is just a shortened demo of "Fall" from the LP.

In early 2018 the band released a digital single titled 'Where There is Ruin', which really solidified the style that the band was going for, even though this is actually a track written early on in the band's career and later revisited and recorded. It's over six and a half minutes in length and opens with a lengthy and eerie intro with guitars soaked in reverb which revert to clean picking alongside screaming by the two-minute mark. By 2:32 everything comes together, sounding not unlike (I would imagine) the sounds that would emanate from a screamo cathedral, as there is a dark, gothy feel to it all, and I love it.

I spoke to Shawn Decker from Middle Man Records who was heading up the 12" before I decided against joining and they very accurately described INFANT ISLAND's full length 'Infant Island' as The Spirit Of Versailles meets Respire, and a more apt description I could not make...except maybe slathering on some Sore Eyelids/Trachimbrod shoegaze to give it that nice, final shine. There are seven jams and the first is "Small Differences", a pretty short and basic intro track with waves of feedback, crashing drums, thunderous, rolling bass and throat-wrenching screams. "Replenish" follows and moves Daniel's vocals to the forefront as well as includes some backup screams from Alex. When combined with the frantic nature of the instrumentals this definitely comes across as the most urgent song on the record and perhaps the most "screamo" sounding one because of it. "Broken Pieces" is where this LP goes from very good to great, as the swing in this song in undeniably groovy, and when coupled with those anguished shrieks I'm in goddamn heaven (check in at 54 seconds and 1:35 for that ridiculousness). Also, that climax at 2:40 is ace. "Fall" closes side A and continues with guitar progressions that hook right into my brain and pump serotonin like Barney injecting beer into his veins. Seriously when the band meets up with their collective parts and crash together it's like the big moments in Indian Summer, Funeral Diner, City Of Caterpillar - all those great bands that made their music massive. Side B starts off with the shortest song on the record, "Diminish". It's a very screamy number that does a heck of a lot in just its 1:41 time allotment, leading into the two longest (and best) songs on the album. The next track begins slow yet dense, creating a serene and ambient atmosphere not unlike newer Locktender material, which builds for 1:40 before the speed doubles. Now, this track, "A Preoccupation", is, simply put, my quintessential INFANT ISLAND jam, and the catalyst to a sentence with a heck of a lot of commas, holy shit. But seriously, just ask my wife how animated I get when driving the van and the guitar loops back around to melt my goddamned life at 2:12 and again at 3:10. One of the highlights of 2018 for me without a doubt. Closer "Further" was first premiered on Sophie's Floorboard in July, and I guess is therefore the single. It's also the longest, deepest and most fleshed out track on the entire record. Yep, this thing has it all: sweet instrumental passages, layers of reverb, shoegaze elements, shrieking, dual vocals, swings that transcend time, epic climaxes, etc. So, in conclusion, you can plainly see that I am smitten with INFANT ISLAND, it just took me a few goes, was all.

Lastly, it sounds like we might hear more new INFANT ISLAND in late 2018 or early 2019 by way of split. But...I've already said too much...

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DISCOGRAPHY

2016 - Maidenhair split cassetteEP

2017 - smallhands split cassette/10"EP (stream/donate/download here)

2018 - Infant Island cassette/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)
2018 - Where There is Ruin digital single (stream/donate/download here)

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(2018) INFANT ISLAND - "A Preoccupation" (from 'Infant Island')

(2018) INFANT ISLAND - "Further" (from 'Infant Island')

(2018) INFANT ISLAND - "Replenish" (from 'Infant Island')

(2018) INFANT ISLAND - "Where There is Ruin" (from 'Where There is Ruin')

(2017) INFANT ISLAND - "Fall Into Their Hell (demo)" (from 'smallhands' split)

(2016) INFANT ISLAND - "Broken Pieces (demo)" (from 'Maidenhair' split)

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INFANT ISLAND additional links

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