March 09, 2010 - Equal Vision
There's really no other "scene" record out there quite like The Hearts Of Lonely People, the debut EP by post-hardcore supergroup Isles & Glaciers, but after hearing it, you kinda wish there was. Built around the three-pronged vocal attack of Craig Owens (ex-Chiodos), Vic Fuentes (Pierce The Veil) and Jonny Craig (Emarosa), the band and album are a true singer's showcase, backed by a team of seasoned, inventive players, and the trio make the most of every second.
Instead of sinking from the weight of all the hype and potential egos that can often be expected with a project of this nature, it seems the members of Isles & Glaciers--who also include guitarist/keyboardist Brian Southall (the Receiving End Of Sirens), drummer Mike Fuentes (PTV), guitarist Nick Martin (Underminded/Cinematic Sunrise) and bassist Matt Goddard (Chiodos)--approached the EP with a spirit of genuine collaboration, driving the creativity of their fellow members, and their individual performances, to new heights. Considering most of the record was written by piecing together various ideas the members came up with on their own and then shared digitally with bandmates, then recorded over a dizzying one-week span last winter, it's fairly incredible that such a cohesive, organic-sounding release was the end result.
While it's clear that Isles & Glaciers are a genuine group effort, if there's one particular performance that shines even more than the others, it's the contributions of Jonny Craig, who lends some of the best work of his career to date. The singer provides a strikingly soulful and improvisational counterpoint to Owens' and Fuentes' somewhat more saccharine tones, giving "Viola Lion" a kind of heat that you don't really hear much within the genre. The music keeps pace, exploding with shuddering impact at times ("Hills Like White Elephants"), and at others, mesmerizes with its fragile beauty ("Kings And Chandeliers"). If there's a downside, it's that this debut release is only a mere seven tracks and a shade under 27 minutes, and since members all have other full-time commitments, there are no definitive plans yet for a second attempt. Here's hoping their schedules open up again real soon.