Isle of You – Hold Tight

“I don’t know why on earth they’d want to risk putting off a load of people by describing it as a waffly ‘timeline of emotions’.”

Tim: So, at the risk of alienating you, I’ll quote directly from them PR guff, which says this is “more like a timeline of emotions than a pop song. Instead of writing a ‘verse, pre-chorus, chorus’ song which has already been done about eleven million times, we wanted to create something that sounds like what falling in love really feels like, when all of your worst fears get mixed up with all you ever really wanted.”

Sounds garbage, right?

Tom: Sounds like someone couldn’t make the structure work and decided to go “that’s a feature, not a bug”.

Tim: Certainly not what you want to hear from a group who’ve previously out some great electropop. Except…

Tim: …it absolutely is a standard “verse, pre-chorus, chorus” song, and I think it’s pretty damn great, so I don’t know why on earth they’d want to risk putting off a load of people by describing it as a waffly ‘timeline of emotions’.

Tom: I’m not convinced it “sounds like what falling in love really feels like” either.

Tim: Well, I don’t know about that – for starters, even if the first couple of verses and choruses weren’t enough (which they absolutely are), that middle eight and beyond is one of the best minutes of music I’ve heard this year.

Tom: I wouldn’t go that far, but I’ll agree with you that it certainly kicks in at the middle eight: before that, despite the structure (or lack of), it did feel like a bit of a mess.

Tim: The song is absolutely marvellous, and I’m very upset that there is still no sign of any album on the horizon, because God knows we’ve had enough decent tracks from them. I WANT MORE DAMMIT.

Isle of You – Change Of Heart

“Still good? I’d say still good.”

Tom: Why do I know that name? Have we talked about them before?

Tim: Indeed, and at the risk of setting undue expectations, they’ve been rather well received, largely because their synth-style sits bang in the middle of ‘yep, this is CHVRCHES’ territory. So, bearing that in mind…

Tim: Still good? I’d say still good.

Tom: I don’t like that pre-chorus or middle eight! There are plenty of bits I do like, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get over the rest of it.

Tim: Oh, shame, because I’ve little negative to say here It’s not as loud as previously, but in this case it’s not remotely a bad thing, because it gives everything a better chance to be heard properly and appreciated bit by bit. The great voice, the nice instruments, and generally just the…wholeness of it, which I’m aware sound ridiculous but basically I just think this track sounds good.

Tom: There are a lot of good elements but heavens, there are some irritating bits in here. Even the “change of heart” bit in the chorus, which initially sounded like a nice 80s throwback, started to grate for me by the end. This… is not for me.

Tim: But me? I press play, and I enjoy it. And that’s pretty much what I need from a track. Not to be blown away by it every time, but just to this “ahh, this is nice”.

Isle of You – Backseat Ceremony

“Ah, so we’re doing CHVRCHES now.”

Tim: If you’ll recall, Mindcrime (Isle of You’s last track we featured) was absolutely flipping brilliant. This one, well, anything would struggle to live up to that, but take a listen anyway.

Tim: I think I’ve mentioned this before (probably on an Alan Walker track), but I’ll always find it a bit weird how sometimes I’ll immediately associate particular with one single act. Alan has his twiddling volume thing, Kygo has his variant of tropical house, Galantis have got their sound (though Sigala’s starting to encroach) and Avril Lavigne has female-fronted pop rock. And eight seconds after pressing play on this, I thought “ah, so we’re doing CHVRCHES now”. That’s a compliment, really, because if a song gets me immediately thinking of one of the best pop acts around the moment, they can’t be doing much wrong. It takes a while to get going properly, admittedly, but by halfway through when the second chorus around and we’re all in for the rest of the song, well that’s just lovely. Sounding good all round, despite being almost entirely different the S Club stylings of their last track. Nice.

Isle of You – Mindcrime

“Yeah, this is fun.”

Tim: We both enjoyed Isle of You’s debut, so I had decent expectations; those expectations weren’t enough to stop an audible gasp of joy a second after pressing play.

Tom: I actually said “bloody hell!” out loud when I heard that.

Tim: And I’m not remotely surprised, because you know what that is? That there is S Club 7 right at the top of their game, and I’m not just saying that because the instrumental under the chorus reminds me very much of another song that I can’t place right now, but that similarly flows into Bring It All Back.

Tom: I’m not quite sure at ‘top of their game’ — come on, this is no Reach — but it’s certainly up there.

Tim: The mood is fun, even a tad silly with some of the lyrics (walking into a door, LOL!).

Tom: Mm, the lyrics do actually take it down a notch for me. (“Finger dan- finger dance”?) And quite what they mean by Mindcrime I’ve no idea, despite them trying to explain it in the video description — and that talky bit in the middle bit is just cringeworthy.

Tim: Well yes, there are faults but really, I haven’t just enjoyed a song so much in a while – there have been great songs, but not like this just to sit back and think “yeah, this is fun”. Really, really fun, and I can’t think of a better word to describe it.

Isle Of You – 50 + 1

“I didn’t expect to like that as much as I did.”

Tim: Dodgy pun in the act name, yes, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that’ll pan out across the inevitable future “you suck”-style tracks, but to start out with they give us this chirpy number, so let’s go with it.

Tom: Well, that’s pleasantly chirpy. I really… I didn’t expect to like that as much as I did.

Tim: Normally, a ukulele is something that would put me right off a track, and the phenomenally ridiculous ions metaphor might in some situations have me chucking my iMac out of the window. Right now and with this track, though: it all fits together, absolutely fine.

Tom: How on earth did they manage to make this sound endearing rather than cringeworthy? I wouldn’t have thought it was possible!

Tim: I mean, I’ve got no idea what a ‘Taylor Swift crush’ is – my best guess is ‘I like you right now but as soon as you’re a dick I’ll write a not remotely subtle song about it’ – so I don’t know how that’s meant to be romantic.

There’s also a hefty element of self-aggrandisation going on – I’d sure as hell love to see 106 reasons why I should date either one of the two singers. And all in all, this song is more or less a textbook definition of jaunty.

Tom: You say that, but there’s a couple of jess-jaunty notes in there, on that lovely “know I’m a good catch”. I think that’s a good summary of the whole song: it balances the twee with just enough strange things to make it palatable.

Tim: And right now, I like that. I don’t know why, because objectively it hits all my wrong buttons, but I like it a lot.