Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Have You Heard?
Islands - Arm's Way

"Islands are forever," Nick Diamond said when the second of the three original Unicorns members left the Islands in '06. The statement is also the name of the band's web site, and appears as their Myspace headline.

It's clear, as the backbone of the band, "Diamond is forever" (just in time for Valentine's Day, too!). Islands, on the other hand, I began to wonder about.

Apparently I was wrong about these guys. Plans are on track for the band to release its second LP May 20, titled Arm's Way, which is apparently a play on the phrase "Harm's Way." (Don't we just love these guys and their puns? My favorite is still "Where's There's a Will There's a Whalebone." No word yet on whether the new album will include a song called, "Where There's a Will There's an Arm's Way." Ahem.)

As we speak the band has new track "The Arm" on its MySpace, a song that seems to further the distance between the rough and ready rock of the Unicorns and the lush production of Return to the Sea. All of the Islands' tropes can be found here: Diamond's staple croon, jubilant piano, a dash of the old west guitar a la "Volcanoes."

I'd like to offer a few quotes that summarize my feelings about this new track:

From Pitchfork - "On the first few listens, the thin melody doesn't seem quite up to the Technicolor production, but the sonic ambition is promising."

From a reader comment on Stereogum - "This is a pretty good song, the overall sound of it is a pretty cool new direction, but Nicky D needs to stick to writing the awesome melodies I've come to love him for...

This is what happened to the Shins. Wincing the night away was a beautifully textured sonic dreamscape... at the expense of Mercer's ridiculously good melodies (on most songs).

Do these artists think that this is the sound of maturation? Better sounding song =/= better song."

Well put, random reader. I'll let you guys check out the song and decide for yourselves. On the upside, here's a preview of "Abominable Snow," a song the band played live back in their Unicorns' days - so, you know, it's probably gonna be the best track on the new album.


Hackworth Artifex said...

Holy shit, that video is awesome. I only wish it were longer.

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