Matt Williams, also known as Inland Island, has taken beachy vibes, the groove of nature, and real life experience, forging a laid back work of art named the Inland Island EP. The rocking rhythms and swaying vocals will give you the experience of being on a coast without ever leaving your house.
The opening notes of “What Am I Gonna Do” immediately transported me to a bright warm beach setting, laying on an oddly patterned blanket with a boom box positioned right by my ear. I am reminded of the 70s and 80s tunes that used to pipe through my house. The vibe continues with “Island Soul” but with an upbeat vibe added. The vocals here are so interesting; they retain a touch of youthful optimism but are seasoned with wisdom and practicality.
“Talk, Talk, Talk” sounds distant, and the lyrics lend credence to that musical foundation. While each instrument has a relatively simple part alone, together they create a reflective tone that echoes at each level. I wasn’t fully ready for this song to be over, but “Baby Needs” was a great follow up. Energetic and flavorful, the rhythmic bass in the background shines most, supported later by an engaging rhythm. The lyrics are repetitive yet catchy, a tactic that works particularly well here.
“It Ain’t a Bad Place to Spend Some Time,” oddly enough, begins just as the title sounds like it would. The music and vocals engage in a fascinating variation of call and response, while remaining as nuanced as the previous songs. “Island Soul 79” has a funk groove, and sounds like an expansion of the first “Island Soul” with even more attitude. The sound of waves crashing ashore is welcome and furthers the initial beach imagery. The title suits the overall sound perfectly.
“I Wish You’d Close Your Eyes” has some of the most engrossing and interesting lyrics on the album. Striking a perfect balance between the more upbeat songs and a heartfelt plea, this is a song that really sticks outs and is the catchiest on the EP.
I was thoroughly impressed by how well this EP captured the relaxed nature of vacation, a feeling most of us only get to enjoy once every year or so. This is perfect for mellowing out; the music is a reminder to slow down every once in a while to enjoy the scenery and the ride.
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