Penelope Isles Share “Have You Heard?” Visuals

Following excellent reviews for their new album Which Way To Happy, released digitally last month via Bella Union and out physically on 21st January, Penelope Isles today share a brilliant video for LP highlight “Have You Heard” to coincide with their announcement of a month of US tour dates running throughout March 2022. “Have You Heard” receives a gripping narrative-meets-live-performance video shot in black and white, helmed by renowned director Jamie Thraves (Radiohead’s “Just” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist”). 

Commenting on the video Jamie Thraves says: “I heard Penelope Isles on 6 Music and was blown away. They seemed to channel all my favourite bands in one. I’ve been into this idea of reaching out to new bands via Instagram to see if they’d be into my music video work and Jack and Lily were open from the get go. They gave me an absolute gem of a track in ‘Have You Heard’ and they were totally open to what I wanted to do visually. This video is a nod and reference to a number of videos and short films I’ve made in the past, themes I’m interested in, and they gave me total freedom to do what I wanted. They are total stars and very down to earth and lovely people. They were so much fun to work with and we had a blast.”

Additionally, Penelope Isles have been added to the line-up of Bella Union’s Winter Wonderland concert at the Union Chapel this Saturday alongside Laura Groves, C Duncan and Deep Throat Choir. Tickets HERE.

Acclaim for Which Way To Happy:

“Jack and Lily Wolter balance the bitter and the sweet with real delicacy on the follow-up to their 2019 debut… An endearing mixture of emotional wobble and creative confidence,

Which Way To Happy is on exactly the right track.” MOJO

“Widescreen, expansive stuff… ‘Rocking At The Bottom’ mixes jangle and shoegaze with a dose of the Bunnymen at their most grandiose, while ‘Play It Cool’ is irresistible retro-pop.

The stately psych stroll of ‘Sailing Still’ and woozy glide of ‘Pink Lemonade’ are both dreamy high points.” Shindig – 4 stars ****

“Festooned with macroscopic, reverb-smitten production and sumptuous orchestral arrangements… A genuinely healing listen;

an album to get cosy with while its music lovingly soaks your wounds.” DIY – 4 stars ****

Which Way to Happy expands and improves on the musical palette laid down by their debut with the record hitting its stride on the jittery single ‘Iced Gems’ followed by the absorbing

and ambitious ballad ‘Sailing Still’. Songs come bathed in sparkling synths and warming strings, but melodies are unpredictable, bearing repeat listens.” Uncut – 7/10

“Their sound hasn’t changed but the recordings are richer, basslines heavier, and the songwriting is more confident.” Clash – 8/10

“This sibling duo’s forthcoming album Which Way to Happy builds further upon their explorations of sound, unbound to the constraints of style.

The result is a cohesive grab bag of influences ranging from The Smiths to Tame Impala.” Paste

Happy Release Day Penelope Isles

To celebrate the release of their new album Which Way To Happy, out today via Bella Union with the physical release following on 21st January,Penelope Isles have shared a video to current single and album highlight “Terrified”. The track is a reflection on anxiety set to a dreamy sunburst of psychedelic jangle-pop while the colourful video features frontman Jack Wolter getting the full clown makeover. Of the video Jack says: “We wanted to capture some kind of juxtaposition within the video for “Terrified”. The manic, hurried face-painting getting slapped on but with me singing almost bored and spun-out in real-time. A funny, supposed-to-be-joyful clown framed in a wonky black and white frame. The instrumentation of the song is very much the polar opposite to what I’m singing about and so we tried to continue this theme in the video. We also wanted something visually a little less busy and intense than the other videos we have shared from the album.

“Jack and Lily Wolter balance the bitter and the sweet with real delicacy on the follow-up to their 2019 debut… An endearing mixture of emotional wobble and creative confidence, Which Way To Happy is on exactly the right track.” MOJO

“Festooned with macroscopic, reverb-smitten production and sumptuous orchestral arrangements, Which Way To Happy balances the raw confessionalism of its lyrics with the lavish ethereality of sound… A genuinely healing listen; an album to get cosy with while its music lovingly soaks your wounds.” DIY – 4 stars ****

“Widescreen, expansive stuff, given added scale by Dave Fridmann’s mix. ‘Rocking At The Bottom’ mixes jangle and shoegaze with a dose of the Bunnymen at their most grandiose, while ‘Play It Cool’ is irresistible retro-pop. The stately psych stroll of ‘Sailing Still’ and woozy glide of ‘Pink Lemonade’ are both dreamy high points.” Shindig – 4 stars ****

“This sibling duo’s forthcoming album Which Way to Happy builds further upon their explorations of sound, unbound to the constraints of style. The result is a cohesive grab bag of influences ranging from The Smiths to Tame Impala.” Paste

“Cause for joy as winter looms… Which Way To Happy is sprawling and multi-coloured and really, really big, though ultimately hugely friendly – maybe like the creatures from Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are seen through an acid prism.” Backseat Mafia – 8.5/10

Penelope Isles share “Terrified”

With the release of their new album Which Way To Happy less than two weeks away on 5th November, and the physical release date following on 21st January, Penelope Isles today share new single and album highlight “Terrified”. The track is a reflection on anxiety set to a dreamy sunburst of psychedelic jangle-pop. As frontman Jack Wolter explains: “It’s about those days when you’re dying inside but have to pop out to the shop, bumping into someone, having to put on a magic show, pretending to appear that everything is OK. It’s a song that has such a happy-fun-summery exterior but lyrically is totally the opposite. It’s one of self-doubt, displacement and finding something really terrifying to handle. Sometimes we hide a lot behind ourselves. ‘Terrified’ was an outlet for me to be able to tackle scary thoughts and worries in more of an abstract way. Things can seem impossible to talk about and articulate sometimes. I feel that making this album has enabled me and my sister Lily to open up a lot more and be honest with our songs as it just makes them so much more real.”

Due to unforeseen circumstances Penelope Isles have been forced to move some of their Autumn tour dates to early 2022. The band have also announced a raft of new shows for the tour which covers pretty much the entirety of the UK as well as taking a detour into Ireland.  Tickets / info HERE.

Penelope Isles share “Sudoku”

Penelope Isles, the project of UK-born and bred siblings, co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter, recently announced Which Way To Happy, their sophomore album and follow-up to their 2018 debut Until The Tide Creeps In.  Which Way To Happy—which was produced by Jack, mixed by Dave Fridmann, and will be released on November 5th via Bella Union—has been previewed with single “Sailing Still,” and “Iced Gems,” and today the band shares another incredible record teaser with the psychedelic dream-pop single “Sudoku.” “‘Sudoku’ is probably the oldest song on the album. We used to play it in our old band, Your Gold Teeth, back on the Isle of Man when Lily and I first started making music,” Jack explains. “Dad loves a sudoku puzzle whilst he’s sat on the loo. So this one is for him! It’s a special song for us and we wanted to bring it back and play it with Penelope Isles.”

Jack and Lily spent much of 2019 driving through Europe and America with their bandmates, and, like many, felt everything was falling apart when COVID-19 put their upcoming plans to a halt. The duo, dealing with their own respective romantic heartaches, and coping with the loss of two band members who were replaced with Henry Nicholson, Joe Taylor, and Hannah Feenstra who contributed during recording,  (“A godsend after a low time,” says Lily) were staying in a small cottage in Cornwall to start work on the new album when lockdown began. Claustrophobia kicked in, existential anxiety over the pandemic permeated everything, and emotions ran high. “We were there for about two or three months, ultimately,” says Jack. “It was a tiny cottage and we all went a bit bonkers, and we drank far too much, and it spiralled a bit out of control. There were a lot of emotional evenings and realisations, which I think reflects in the songs. Writing and recording new music was a huge part of the recovery process for all of us.

”The result is an intoxicating leap forward for the Brighton-based band, following the calling-card DIY smarts of their 2019 debut, Until the Tide Creeps In. Sometimes it swoons, sometimes it soars. Sometimes it says it’s OK to not be OK. Pitched between fertile coastal metaphors and winged melodies, intimate confessions and expansive cosmic pop, it transforms “difficult second album” clichés into a thing of glorious contrasts: a second-album surge of up-close, heartfelt intimacies and expansive, experimental vision. 

Penelope Isles announce “Which Way To Happy”

Following their recent single ‘Sailing Still’, today Penelope Isles announce news of their much-anticipated second album, Which Way To Happy, out 5th November via Bella Union and available to pre-order here. To celebrate the occasion the band have shared a colourful and psychedelic video for blissful new single “Iced Gems”.

When you’re trying to make it through tough times, you need a little light to find your way. That light blazes brightly on the alchemical second album from Penelope Isles, an album forged amid emotional upheaval and band changes. Setting the uncertainties of twentysomething life to alt-rock and psychedelic songs brimming with life, colour and feeling, Which Way to Happy emerges as a luminous victory for Jack and Lily Wolter, the siblings whose bond holds the band tight at its core.  

Produced by Jack and mixed by US alt-rock legend Dave Fridmann, the result is an intoxicating leap forward for the Brighton-based band, following the calling-card DIY smarts of their 2019 debut, Until the Tide Creeps In. Sometimes it swoons, sometimes it soars. Sometimes it says it’s OK to not be OK. Pitched between fertile coastal metaphors and winged melodies, intimate confessionals and expansive cosmic pop, it transforms “difficult second album” clichés into a thing of glorious contrasts: a second-album surge of up-close, heartfelt intimacies and expansive, experimental vision.  

Warm and rippling new single ‘Iced Gems’ is a sorrowed lament, played out over the gentlest of fluttery keyboards and experimental electronic sounds, while Lily’s ‘Sailing Still’ charts the life of a relationship to a slow-burn and sorrowed soundscape of dulcitones, cello, violin and more: building in increments to a climax of measured grandeur.

The album swerves into Mercury Rev and MGMT’s cosmic slipstream with ‘Miss Moon,’ a galloping centrepiece with an irresistible call to dream: “Hey, kids – look up!” Steering the album through further contrasts, ‘Have You Heard’ is a feelgood flurry of insistent, pulsing space-rock; ‘Pink Lemonade,’ meanwhile, is a song of sweet, sharp beauty, touching on fading childhood memories and lifted by Fiona Brice’s strings. ‘11 11’ hosts Lily’s most tender vocal yet: recorded in one take through tears, it finds Penelope Isles at their most exposed, with Brice’s strings weeping in sympathy. Finally, ‘In a Cage’ cogitates on confinement yet finds solace in field recordings of happy, high times – a judicious note of meditative reflection after a giddy ride. 

More field recordings were made during a stay at a small cottage in Cornwall, where Penelope Isles began work on the album. With romantic heartache already in the air, things swiftly got worse: lockdown began, claustrophobia kicked in and emotions ran high. As Jack puts it, “We were there for about two or three months. It was a tiny cottage with four of us in and we all went a bit bonkers, and we drank far too much, and it spiralled a bit out of control. There were a lot of emotional evenings and realisations, which I think reflects in the songs.” 

After Cornwall, the band redid many of the rhythm tracks, recorded a little in Brighton, then recorded more in Cornwall at their parents’ house. “It was,” says Jack, “a proper rollercoaster ride.” 

The ride continued with Fridmann, whose recent credits include Isles’ favourites Mogwai’s No 1 album, As the Love Continues. As Lily puts it, the process of sending Fridmann a mix, receiving it back in the morning and then having five hours to make decisions on it resulted first in stress, then in something sublime. “He made everything so colourful. It’s an intense-sounding record – a hot record. It was so refreshing to have that blast of energy from Dave – it’s like he framed our pictures.” 

Away from the confines of the cottage, the Wolters also opened the door to a collaboration with storied composer Fiona Brice, whose credits include John Grant, Lost Horizons and Placebo. A “big bucket-list tick” for Jack and Lily, the team-up results in glorious arrangements across the album.

On its release, Until the Tide Creeps In received rave reviews from Q, DIY, The Line of Best Fit and many others, while finding champions in Steve Lamacq and Shaun Keaveny. Meanwhile, extensive touring saw the Isles develop into a formidable live force, with ‘Gnarbone’ emerging as a sure-fire show-stopper. 

Now, the Isles have 11 more show-stoppers to add to the mix. At the album’s heart, the band’s core traits have never been stronger: the bond between the Wolters, a sensitivity towards complex feelings, a desire to celebrate life in all its facets and an ambitious reach combine to create an album that feels utterly, emphatically present on every front.

Penelope Isles recently announced news of an extensive UK tour for November and December 2021. Tickets are available at https://www.penelopeisles.com.

Penelope Isles debut “Sailing Still”

Having recently announced news of an extensive UK tour this Autumn, Penelope Isles today share a captivating video for a brilliant new single, “Sailing Still”. The track is a first taste of the band’s much-anticipated second album due for release on Bella Union later this year.

Of the track Lily Wolter says: “I wrote the music for this song at my brother’s flat, on a really crappy electric piano, but always envisioned the whole thing as something widescreen, with a big sound to match. The lyrics took me a few months to finish, by which point the song had taken on many different meanings. Then I took it to band practice, where Jack and I wrote the end section together. It’s one of our favourite sounding songs on the record. We played around with pitch-shifting instruments to get it sonically sweet. Plus, it was the first time we ever heard strings with our music. That’s one tick off the bucket list.”

Of the video Jack Wolter adds: “Before the enforced break due to covid we spent pretty much all of 2019 driving ourselves around Europe and America having some incredible adventures as a band and it seems that everything since then has been falling apart. Writing and recording the new album was a huge part of the recovery process and making this film for Sailing Still I wanted Lily and I to get back on the road somehow, as travelling has been such a massive part of our band ever since we began. So I had this idea of filming Lily in a myriad of places and scenarios, both urban and rural, coastal and inland. Mountains and rivers, council flats and tunnels, cafes and bridges. We drove up and down the country for a week, sleeping in the van, and waking up at the crack of dawn to start filming again. Reconnecting as a ‘band’ again but also spending time together as brother and sister was special for filming this real heartbreaker of a song.”

Additionally, the band have compiled an interactive Google Earth map that shows the various filming locations across the UK. Click HERE to view the map.

Penelope Isles are centred around siblings Jack and Lily Wolter, originally from the Isle of Man, and for several years now based in Brighton. Their debut album Until the Tide Creeps In was produced by the band at the Bella Union studios in London and Brighton. They create dynamic, blissed-out moments soaked in fuzz-noise waves – their songs fragile yet ferocious. Indie-psych currents and lustrous melodies blend with the siblings’ voices. To support the release they played over 150 shows all over the world, including 100 shows in 2019 alone and three tours in the USA. They’ve hit the road with The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers. Loved by fans, DJs, tour-mates and writers, their debut marked them out as one of the most exciting UK bands of the last few years. The band recently completed work on their second album – more news on that very soon.

Penelope Isles recently announced news of an extensive UK tour for November and December 2021. Tickets are available HERE.