Having enjoyed 2016’s Old Sunlight, when Part Island made its presence felt I was compelled to sample its delights. I’m glad I did, as Part Island is a stunningly well-realised development of the band’s sound.
Enhanced with elements of melodic metal, doom, folk, and shoegaze, (as well as a light touch of black metal), and enriched with synths, acoustics, and piano, this is a diverse and well-written album that feels coherent and absorbing throughout the 44-minute playing time.
Progressive and atmospheric, while also being intimate and emotive, Part Island is a highly affecting and compelling piece of work. Working its magic across a range of moods and styles, from soft indie-esque introspective vulnerability, to huge walls of metallic might, the latest album from Latitudes really is something quite special. The music is overall slower, more sombre, and more atmospheric than previously, while also being more metallic in a Katatonia/Opeth sort of way, (with some modern Anathema thrown in for good measure).
Melody plays a larger role on Part Island than sometimes previously, although not always in a blatant, scene-stealing kind of way. However it manifests, it’s used to support the emotive weight of the music, and the heartfelt singing, which also plays a larger role than ever on this new release.
Yes, the exquisitely well-performed vocals are used much less sparingly than they were in the past. Frequently taking a prominent role, and usually exposed in a way that feels personal, sensitive, and defenceless, they’re very much a focal point on these new tracks. Whereas in the past the singer’s voice was used almost like just another instrument, on Part Island his singing takes more of a central role in the album’s substance, and the music wraps around his performance like a rich, multifaceted cloak.
This is a haunting and beautiful collection of songs, and a real step forward for Latitudes. Highly emotive, deeply affecting, and extremely effective, Part Island is the sound of a band completely comfortable with their art. An essential listen.