Islands
Return To The Sea


4.0
excellent

Review

by stompybeardo USER (3 Reviews)
August 2nd, 2006 | 22 replies | 5,340 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


1 of 3 thought this review was well written

I don't know if anyone on this sight reads any indie websites for reviews or new bands, but I actually first heard of this band because of Pitchfork media. I won't drone on about my dislike of the whole organization and their fellating of (to my estimating) average/awful indie bands, but one day when one of my friends said to me "I know theyre evil, but you should really check out this band called Islands" I took a chance. To start off, this album already gets an extra point from me for creating an opening track ("Swans") despite its 9 minutes and 34 second running time, that actually doesn't drag on. Far from it, its actually one of the best tracks on the album and in a way its the most suitable opening track. The instrumentation, for one is very accomplished, the bass, piano, guitar and the vocals create an effective momentum of rythym and melody, its evident from the first and many other tracks that this band have an almost classical approach and knowledge of music.

Whats more their style is damn near impossible to define, its all over the place. There's quirky indie pop, Calypso and Tropical island influences in there and some Jazz and Classical moments, along with some other genres I probably left out. Lead singer Nicholas Thorburns voice is also in my opinion pretty easy to like, sounding vaguely like a slightly higher pitched Benjamin Gibbard of death cab for cutie, he manages to pull off some bizarre lyrics. lyrics like "if the clothes make the man, then the moths make the holes
And it shows, yes it shows, by the shape the hole grows" are sung irreverantly to their own innocent wierdness. There are some more poetic moments lyrically, ie:"Yet all I see is sea
And azure sky
A little wave and ebb tide"

By and large its very upbeat music (it actually works as poolside soundtrack), the sunny pop of "Joggin gorgeous summer" offers what the title suggests, complete with flute and xylophone, track 4 "Rough gem" is also probably one of the catchiest and addictive pop songs ive heard for a long time. Islands don't seem afraid to have a sense of humour about themselves too, some of the ridiculous lyrics, the fast paced rapping on one track("Where theres a will theres a will theres a whalebone", actually one of the few weak album tracks) and a sense of fun in their experimentation. Whats more impressive is that it works very well, because they arent content with amauter instrumentation or half baked tunes that lesser indie bands may be happy to shove out. Basically theyve obviously laboured over this debut, with a firm grasp on structure and melody (see "Untitled" for an example). Yes maybe there is a little bit of a pretentious streak to the band (ie the 5 minutes silence before a 4 minutes song on"Untitled"), however you could argue they have a lot more ambition than some of their peers! Overall one of the most creative new bands ive heard in a long time.

Pros:-great range of styles
-good Humoured pop songs
-track lenght ranges from 2 and a half minutes to 9 minutes

Cons:-Theyre Canadian (just joking!)
-Take some getting used to


user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
stompybeardo
August 2nd 2006



746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sorry this is kinda short, its a pretty hard album to review

nutty_bar
August 2nd 2006



194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hooray! Somebody else likes Islands! I love these guys, and was actually planning to review this, but it looks like you did a good enough job. They play such a wide variety of songs, and have influences from nearly everything imaginable.

Only thing I disagree with is that i think, "Where there's a Will, There's a Whalebody" is one of the best songs. I love it. But everybody has different tastes.

Canada just keeps on pooping out awesome indie bands.

Zebra
Moderator
August 2nd 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Although I prefer the Unicorns this album is pretty solid stuff. My only problem is that the music can get way to poppy.
Decent review, you covered just about everything but you could have pointed out a few more tracks.

Zesty Mordant
August 2nd 2006



1196 Comments


I've heard that these guys are fairly interesting so I'm inclined to check them out, despite being done with indie music.

nutty_bar
August 3rd 2006



194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am a pretty big fan of the Unicorns too, but I like how much variety these guys show. And something about it just seems more professional.

JonM
August 4th 2006



18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album, but I think the review could be much better. It's too short to do justice to the record. And no mention of the Busdriver guest spot, either!

livinginafantasy
August 27th 2006



35 Comments


this sounds great.
canadians make awesome music!
checking this out asap.

KoraX
September 13th 2006



161 Comments


Hey didnt know the Islands were reviewed here.
Never heard of them before last weekend where i got to see them at a festival. Their show was just excellent, couldnt even count the amount of people on stage. They had those crazy people with false huge bodies who were bouncing around totaly crazy.
Need to hear the album.

John Paul Harrison
February 1st 2007



1014 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is very important that I tell you that Rough Gem is like being sucked off by angels.

Bron-Yr-Aur
February 12th 2007



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^^

And ejaculating sugar.

It is a good song.

brandtweathers
January 7th 2008



2007 Comments


The parentals live in Houston and I just heard this group on Rice radio.

Sounded excellent so I'm pumped that others enjoyed it too.

http://bang.rice.edu/top35.shtml


Yotimi
April 27th 2011



6472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So good. Nick is the man in every project he's in

Digging: Millie and Andrea - Drop The Vowels

wabbit
April 27th 2011



6988 Comments


got.

Yotimi
April 27th 2011



6472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm assuming you have The Unicorns too? If not, it's the best place to start

Rev
November 29th 2011



9409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was watching How I Met Your Mother and they put Don't Call Me Whitney in one of the episodes, and I freaked cause I haven't heard it in years

Yotimi
November 29th 2011



6472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the writers must be friends with Nick or something because The Unicorns' Who Will Cut Our Hair is Ted's favorite album

Rev
November 29th 2011



9409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's really awesome


Even though I don't watch British television, I think one of the characters on the IT Crowd has a Campfire Headphase poster

Rev
January 20th 2013



9409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just stumbled upon the LP at my local record store

Double white vinyl, limited to 500 copies

Happy birthday to me

EaglesBecomeVultures
January 20th 2013



5224 Comments


Always loved that about How I Met Your Mother. I like The Unicorns way
more but this is a pretty great record. Rough Gem is titties.

lol @ the recs uhh what

demigod!
January 20th 2013



44149 Comments


I listened to that Unicorns album once and didn't really get it

Digging: Failure - Magnified



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