“Driving” may be the central theme of the debut full-length album by London shimmering indie rock band ISLAND, but the quartet couldn’t get to Seattle for its first North American tour by car.
Vocalist Rollo Doherty, guitarist Jack Raeder, bassist James Wolfe and drummer Toby Richards touched down at Sea-Tac Monday and had just enough time to purchase some touring gear, find phones with U.S. SIM cards and get a meal before Richards hopped on the phone with us.
“We left London this morning, landed just after lunch in Seattle, and spent hours waiting for immigration,” Richards said. The flight “was like 10 hours, but it kind of flew by. I guess we were all pretty excited about being here.”
ISLAND’s debut LP, last spring’s Feels Like Air, followed two EPs that the band released in 2015 and 2017 (both on Beatnik Creative). The four Oxford friends met while playing in other bands, and ISLAND was at first simply a fun project. It quickly took off after the band, at that time unsigned, started booking gigs at larger and larger venues.
Several of the band’s videos are about life on the road; seeing the world pass by through a passenger window. The LP was influenced by the idea that music could physically transport, or at least accompany, the listener from one point to another. The lead single, the aptly named “Ride,” is a swath of bittersweet delayed guitar pings that recalls the Temper Trap, or The Unforgettable Fire-era U2. Previous singles “The Day I Die” and “Try” add a guttural tint to the nostalgic sound.
New York’s Frenchkiss Records snapped the band up and fast-tracked Feels Like Air, bringing ISLAND to the U.S. for it’s first headlining shows here.
“It’s a massive thing for us. We’ve been a band, now, for four years and we’ve always dreamt of coming here and touring,” Richards said. “It’s a dream come true, really, to be here now.”
Editor Roman Gokhman contributed to this report. Follow Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.