When Jamie Thompson and Jim Guthrie left Islands, many thought the band was finished. After all, Thompson and singer/songwriter Nick Diamonds have been playing music together since the Unicorns stormed the indie circuit in 2003. What happened, though, was that Diamonds was able to craft even more grandiose pop arrangements than those we heard on the band’s debut.
At first listen, it’s hard not to get lost in the cacophony of strings, guitar and harmonies (imagine Rufus Wainwright mixed with Franz Ferdinand), but it doesn’t take long to realize that most tracks here are just catchy, complex pop songs, like what you might find in Elephant 6’s oeuvre.
The album starts strong. The title track and opener has a huge sound, but it’s the simple yet infectious guitar riff that keeps it together. The disc is also diverse; the lyrically odd Creeper, with its electro-drums and keyboard effects, is straight out of the 80s, while some other tracks have hints of R&B about them. Another great disc from this Montreal band.
Islands play the Phoenix May 29.