Under Review: Islands – Vapours

Talk about stylistic shifts.  Last time we heard from Islands, they were merely a he.  ‘He’ being Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn, who led the Montreal project on a proggy journey through the sprawl that is 2007’s Arm’s Way.  With that album, the group resembled fellow Montrealers Arcade Fire in their most grandiose form.  However, Islands’ sweeping production style was not to last.  The new album, Vapours, find Thorburn reunited with Jamie Thompson, who had left the band just after their debut.  Whether or not Vapours’ opener, “Switched On” is so named to evoke the Stereolab rarities compilations is not clear, but the swoony, soulful electronica found on Islands’ latest is not too far off from the bubbly tunes of the now-dormant loungers.  Most of the record is made up of sequenced drum patterns and funky guitar figures.  The title track and its follower, “Devout,” are prime examples of this motif.  Perhaps Nick and Jamie reckon themselves to be Montreal’s answer to the Pet Shop Boys or Erasure, which is just fine by me.  Lyrics explore desperate dope habits (“No You Don’t”) and love on a deserted island (“Tender Torture”).  There’s also a fair amount of dark humor here, as the paranoid “Disarming The Car Bomb” and the defeatist “Heartbeat” contrast their bouncy rhythms with eerie lyrics.  If this is what’s it’s going to be like for Islands (that is, morphing and evolving with each album), then I see no reason why they should be met with anything less than uproarious acclaim from lovers of great pop music.

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~ by E. on September 25, 2009.

One Response to “Under Review: Islands – Vapours”

  1. I think you may have just convinced me to invest in the album. You have a very nice style of review as well. It’s good!

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