Review : Islands - Arm's Way
DrownedinsoundEmerging from the ashes of The Unicorns in 2006, Islandsí calling card arrived in the shape of Return To The Sea, a first offering brimming with hooks, intrigue and sunny melodies. Featuring guest players from Canadian indie royalty Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade, a fantastic debut it was Ė peppered with sly humour, graced with longevity and marked by an adventurous, playful approach. Since then co-founding member Jamie Thompson (aka Jíaime Tambeur) has departed leaving Aaron Harris to take the reins behind the drum-kit, the band now standing at a sextet. So what's changed? Well, Armís Way is an expansive piece of work: long (68 minutes), loud, and menacing, it sounds both pointedly different to ReturnÖ and at odds with anything 2008 has offered thus far....full text
SlantmagazineMontreal's Nick Thorburn, also know as Nick Diamonds, seems dead set on becoming the mad prince of indie pop. His tastes are widespread, his talents immense, and his sense of humor borders on maniacal. Thorburn's first project, the Unicorns, served up jagged jewels of melodic intensity in rapid succession, often skipping across multiple musical worlds in the course of a single song; the precociously magisterial and death-obsessed LP Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? was one of 2003's best, ending with the jokingly ominous lyric: "I've said my goodbyes and now I'm ready to die (cough cough)." After the group's premature (some might say inevitable) implosion in 2005, Thorburn tried his hand at hip-hop production as Th' Corn Gangg, working with rappers Subtitle and Busdriver as well as remixing "Emergency Exit" for Beck's Guerolito....full text
NowtorontoWhen Jamie Thompson and Jim Guthrie left Islands, many thought the band was finished. After all, Thompson and singer/songwriter Nick Diamonds have been playing music together since the Unicorns stormed the indie circuit in 2003. What happened, though, was that Diamonds was able to craft even more grandiose pop arrangements than those we heard on the bandís debut.
At first listen, itís hard not to get lost in the cacophony of strings, guitar and harmonies (imagine Rufus Wainwright mixed with Franz Ferdinand), but it doesnít take long to realize that most tracks here are just catchy, complex pop songs, like what you might find in Elephant 6ís oeuvre....full text
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