Penelope Isles were formed by brother-sister songwriters Jack and Lily Wolter who were born in Devon and raised on the Isle of Man. The now Brighton-based quartet is completed by Jack Sowton and Becky Redford.
The dreamy DIY fuzz-rock on their debut album inspires a PR headrush of adjectives which include crisp, translucent, immersive, woozy, lilting, lustrous, beatific and blissful.
The nostalgic themes are, according to Jack Wolter, all about “leaving home, moving away, dealing with transitions in life and growing up.”.
There’s a languid charm to the songs exemplified in tracks like Lily’s drifting Underwater Record Store and Jack’s vibrant Gnarbone. At seven plus minutes, the latter is the album’s obvious centerpiece. It was written a tiny cupboard room in Cornwall and has become something of a show-stopper when performed live.
The album cover depicts the Wolters’ father triumphantly completing a sandcastle. This is the kind of band who you imagine would happily pass their days selling sea shells by the sea shore until the waves creep in to wash away such temporary fortresses.
The morale of the tale appears to be that life is lovely until it’s not.
Penelope Isles’ website