II by Island People
More deeply considered island vibes
I'll never forget the gist of something Kurt Cobain once said in an interview about Nevermind, suggesting that, in retrospect, they (i.e. Nirvana) included too many good tracks and could have squeezed out two albums with some filler instead. The idea that all a successful album needs is a few decent tracks and some filler is something that sits at the forefront of my day-to-day listening. Now, in no way am I saying this second Island People album comprises a few decent tracks with filler, but when it comes to Ambient albums, of which I'm sure you'll agree there has been no shortage of in the last couple of years, a few standout tracks can make all the difference between immersive pleasure and nonchalant skimming.
I already knew the quality of work from the four Scottish-Irish musicians Conor Dalton, David Donaldson, Greame Reedie and Ian Maclennan who make up the group, having reviewed their self-titled debut, so was happily prepared to dedicate time to their new one. Long story short, there are a few decent tracks in there. The rest may not be filler per se but appreciating those subtler moments takes time (I stand by my mantra of at least five listens before being qualified to make any kind of judgement on a release). Those standout tracks, the ones with guitar (or some type of plucked string instrument) Idyll and All My Plants Are Dead provide the hook and the reason to invest more time. The inclusion of vocals on Stalling by Alice Hill-Woods tipped proceedings favourably further. Repeat listening was easy after that. One I'll be returning to.