Paradise Island

Lines Are Infinitely Fine

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Lines Are Infinitely Fine, the full-length debut of Jenny Hoyston's side project, Paradise Island, is nearly as radical -- and successful -- a departure from her work with Erase Errata as Kathleen Hanna's Julie Ruin was from her work with Bikini Kill. While Paradise Island has a similarly fearless sense of experimentation and shares the challenging, questioning nature of Hoyston's other band, Lines Are Infinitely Fine is much more abstract and diverse, mixing and matching eerie electronic interludes, gentle acoustic passages, and songs that flirt with traditional rock structures without actually committing to them. The most immediately striking difference between Hoyston's Paradise Island and Erase Errata work, however, is her voice, which sounds smaller and more traditionally indie here than the charged, intense style she uses with her main group. This isn't a disappointment, however; this choice actually fits the album's shifting atmospheres better than trying to adapt her Erase Errata style to this very different set of songs. Not only is this album different from Hoyston's previous work, most of its tracks sound pretty different from one another: Songs such as the woozy, looped opener "Mind Wash"; the creeping dread of "Gold Digger"; and the serenely spooky "Sunrise a Spectacle" are tied together only by their left-of-center perspective and a paranoia that pervades even the lightest tracks, such as the faux-club track "I Came 2 Party." Lines Are Infinitely Fine's most extreme tracks sound irretrievably broken, as if the formidable energy that drives Erase Errata has imploded and fragmented within them: "Got a Light" pairs a hissing drumbeat that would do Suicide proud with oppressive synths that seem to belong to another song; at times Hoyston is barely audible, but even then she sounds clearly anguished. "Try and Leave," on the other hand, focuses on her painful caterwauling, setting it to a nightmarishly relentless beat. The album's relatively less-experimental moments are also some of its most immediately enjoyable ones: "We Ate Until We Ate It All" is probably the poppiest track, featuring spiralling guitars and clever lyrics like: "Oh the days go by/Give us back our favorite lie"; "Everybody's Cussing" is similarly sardonic and catchy. Even more so than with Erase Errata, Paradise Island's music demands a lot from the listener: Hoyston packs so many sounds and moods into Lines Are Infinitely Fine's 25 minutes that it can cause sonic whiplash the first few times it's heard. As the album unfolds, however, it reveals that Hoyston is a more diverse talent than her Erase Errata work -- as striking as it is -- suggested. Whether or not she intends to use any of Lines Are Infinitely Fine's myriad experiments in future Erase Errata releases, or if it will remain an island of sound unto itself, remains to be seen, but either way, it's terrain worth exploring.

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