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Arm's Way

Islands

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iTunes Review

By the end of opening track ("The Arm") with its Spaghetti western-flavored guitars and symphonic strings executing the most perfect pas de deux in recent indie pop history, a certain anticipation settles in; it’s a real stunner. Montreal's Islands had a banner year in 2006 when they debuted with Return to the Sea, an inspiring mix of pop flavorings. Here, main Islander Nick Thorburn takes things up a notch, vying for a top spot in the (so far) sparsely populated field of indie prog-rock; Arms’ Way gives us songs that are easy to listen to but take a while to absorb, with orchestrated, lush arrangements offset by a perfect balance of rock (not pop) guitars, thundering drums, and unexpected time shifts and song structures. Thorburn’s vocals are in fine form, whether they’re wrapping around emotive high notes like an embrace, or discharging caustic stingers (the ferocious “J’aime Vous Voire Quitter” has the line: “You said you had my back/but I was attacked by a pack of dogs frothing at the mouth”).  There are many additional brilliant moments here: “Creeper,” “Kids Don’t Know,” “I Feel Evil” and the grand “To A Bond” are all dazzling, evocative, full-bodied works.  Sip and enjoy.

Customer Reviews

EPIC

Although it is a departure from Return to the Sea, Islands have once again made some top notch music. Every song on this album feels different, and the production level went up from RttS. The songs might sound different, but they have the same Islands feel: EPIC. Each song has its own sound and feels like it was made separatley from each other... on RttS, the songs flowed a little better (Rough Gem, Tsuxiit, Whalebone). Arms Way feels like the songs are all singles or something, very different from the others. That is the only complaint, that the songs dont flow as smoothly as they did in RttS. But still.. if you are a fan of The Unicorns / Islands / MUSIC, you owe it to yourself to get Arms Way

Spit on what the professional critics say...

This album is a step up from their debut, and everyone knows Return to the Sea was great. Arm's Way ends up being polished, snappy, and bursting of lively lyrics about death (oh the delicious irony). It's a must-have for any pop-rock fan. Believe me, you'll not want to stop listening to this - get the whole freakin' album.

Strong Disappointment

although islands are one of my favorite bands, their latest album seemed very disappointing. Islands, at least in their latest album, have lost the flare and originality that set Return to the Sea apart from all of the countless other cd's in the world. with very few exceptions, nothing on Arm's Way strikes me as original. One of the better songs, Abominable Snow, has already been performed 3 times by Diamond-- once under a different band. Islands has also lost a sense of passion in their work, and this becomes painfully noticeable as Arm's Way starts to drag on into the later songs. gone are the days of edgy and experimental synths, instead we better get accustomed to drudging guitar riffs and unoriginal songwriting. Diamond made a gamble on this album by moving towards a heavier sound, and in my opinion, he lost. However, there are a few gems to be found that offer plenty of promise to the future of this potentially amazing band. One of these is "Pieces of You" which is perhaps the only song on Arm's Way that offers original and fresh beats. Also, "J'aime vous Voire Quitter" is filled with a passionate intensity that slightly compensates for the average writing. I dont know if Islands is trying to appeal to more people or if this is the direction that they wish to pursue. Nonetheless, although this is an OK album, Return to the Sea is far superior in every way imaginable--buy it. Overall, Arm's Way is a strong loss of potential talent and the loss of the traditional Unicorns-style music.

Biography

Formed: 2005 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After the breakup of experimental lo-fi indie rock band the Unicorns, members Nicholas Thorburn (aka Nick Diamonds; vocals, guitar, keyboard) and Jaime Thompson (aka J'aime Tambeur; drums) formed Islands, which found the two more focused on brighter production and neo-psychedelic indie pop. Since forming in early 2005, the Canadian band has also featured a fluctuating lineup of contributors on a wide variety of instruments, both in concert and on record. That list includes Alex...
Full Bio
Arm's Way, Islands
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