Formed around the chemistry of siblings and dual songwriters Jack and Lily Wolter, Brighton based Penelope Isles are a classic four piece of guitars, drums and bass, with some keys thrown in to the mix. Debut album Until the Tide Creeps In is an album informed by shared experience. Raised on the Isle of Man, Jack moved away to study art at university at 19, when Lily was 13.
With an apparent administrative cock up with dates to deal with, The Great Escape was a week earlier than normal, very soon after Easter and the Labour Day Bank Holiday. Would this have an affect? Would there be less sun and less people? Well, when you’re living in a highly changeable climate, but with the dark clouds of Brexit looming larger than ever, you’d be forgiven in thinking the party might not get started.
Despite originally hailing from the Isle of Man, Brighton-based outfit Penelope Isles have always been a typical Brighton band. From their beautifully striking melodies, to the way they conduct themselves on and off stage, they’ve enchanted Brighton audiences with ease.
Suitably for an occasion which was initially inspired by the Free Comic Book Day in North America back in 2007, the superheroes that run our local independent record stores came together for Record Store Day. Whereas most retailers would do simply anything to get one over their rivals, this felt different – Brighton’s four indie stores seemed to operate in a friendly and collaborative manner, with a lot of effort put in to avoid event clashes rather than direct competition. Between them, Resident, Vinyl Revolution, Bella Union and Rarekind (as well as a special event at Brighton Dome organised by Spectrum in celebration of local artists) made sure that the whole of Brighton could join in the celebrations of the biggest day in the independent music store calendar.
We love Penelope Isles. We really do. It seems like much of Brighton does, too, what with labels and managers sniffing around, and fellow Brightonians British Sea Power giving them a hand by inviting them to perform on parts of their current UK tour. Brighton’s Lost Horizons have also invited them to support them on their UK dates in April. Indeed, Penelope Isles are recording their debut album at the Bella Union studios in Brighton, home to label boss Simon Raymonde and his Lost Horizons band. Penelope Isles will also be headlining their home town (11th April at Green Door Store) and have been added to the bill of the End of the Road Festival towards the end of summer.
So Saturday is on and tonight’s show is set out as a ‘battle of the bands’ joint headliners set. There’s two of the biggest ‘about to breakthrough’ Brighton bands on the bill tonight. On the one hand you have Penelope Isles, who have been building their sound and following for years now. Notable fans would include Matt King, who everyone spots in the audience, then pretends as if they didn’t. Porridge Radio are certainly on the quirkier spectrum. They’ve been a name headlining the majority of local venues for a few years now.