Though travel has been off the cards, or at least severely limited, for everyone this year, those with itchy feet could do far worse than jump into Isle of Dogs, the second album from Laura Nunez’, otherwise known as She’s Got Spies.
A trilingual travelogue of an album, not only is the record recorded in three languages (English, Welsh and Russian) as well as a litany of locations including Italy, Argentina and Vietnam, but the recordings come from a whole decade of Nunez’ life.
As such Isle of Dogs is an unusual album, though in that lies much of its inherent charm as well. 13 tracks spread over 45 minutes, each is an individual vignette depicting a certain time or event from those ten years, resulting in a record that’s as deeply personally as it is surreal, and that feels as if it’s in constant motion.
Musically it’s just as difficult to pin down. There’s the camp theatrics of bands such as The Dresden Dolls, the rough and ready production of The Moldy Peaches, or the romance of The Magnetic Fields. A diverse array of comparisons for sure, but ones linked by their own inimitable individually – something they also share with She’s Got Spies.
Indeed, tracks such as ‘All Out of Tears’ or ‘Vladivostok’ brood with an understated sadness, whereas tracks as ‘The Fear’ are light and airy, though not without a degree of darkness. Elsewhere things get a little more strange.
Opening track and recent single ‘Super Sniffer Dogs’ depicts a music festival that takes place within a council estate on the eponymous Isle of Dogs; its skittering percussion, jangly guitars and carnival-esque keys making for an upbeat if not surreal introduction.
Of course, it goes without saying that Isle of Dogs won’t be an album for everyone. It’s live production may well deter some, while for others its tendency to shift between aesthetics might not sit well. For those who like their indie upbeat, surreal and with a lot of heart however, She’s Got Spies have got you covered.