The endearing naivety that sparkled on Penelope Isles’ 2019 debut ‘Until The Tide Creeps In’ has ripened into something far richer, festooned with macroscopic, reverb-smitten production, sumptuous orchestral arrangements, and a deeper, darker plunge into the private wellsprings of wracked emotion. With its conception marred by a turbulence of romantic heartache, lockdown claustrophobia, not to mention numerous line-up changes, ‘Which Way To Happy’ balances the raw confessionalism of its lyrics with the lavish ethereality of sound. On one extreme sits the balladic purity of tearjerker ‘11 11’ (“It’s all changing, going away / Feel like crying everyday”), and on the other, the star-sailing post-rock of transcendent cuts, ‘Sailing Still’ and ‘Sudoku’, Grizzly Bear-esque in their weighty ambition. Between these extremes lies a slew of well-wrought indie-pop songs, blessed by some fulgent guitar-playing and angelic vocal chops of Jack and Lily Wolter, the group’s core duo. Despite its heavier moments, ‘Which Way to Happy’ is a genuinely healing listen; an album to get cosy with while its music lovingly soaks your wounds.
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