April 27, 2006

Islands' Return To The Sea

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If you mourned the unexpected 2005 breakup of beloved Montreal experimental indie-pop outfit The Unicorns, cry no more. Multi-instrumentalist/singer Nick Diamonds and drummer J’aime Tambeur now go by Islands, and they have released a more polished, controlled debut album, Return To The Sea. With the exception of the astonishingly melodic epic opener “Swans,” Return to the Sea does not vary much from the whimsical, free-spirited palette of The Unicorns. With plenty of help from Montreal chums Wolf Parade and Arcade Fire, Islands alternately create delicate, airy pop (the calypso-flecked instrumental “Tsuxiit” and slow-burning “Ones”) and synth-heavy psychedelic freakouts (“Where There’s a Will”). Even when Islands sound like a kookier Paul Simon (the infectious “Rough Gem” and drum machine/steel drum dichotomy of “Jogging Gorgeous Summer”), their evocative lyrics and breezy melodies come pretty close to perfecting the eclectic, playful pop The Unicorns explored in years past.

Archived article by Natasha Pickowicz