April 24, 2008

Islands - Arm's Way (2008)

Someone described Vampire Weekend to me as a way for ”cool kids” to listen to Paul Simon, without actually having to listen to Paul Simon. Wait a second, is Paul Simon not cool? Stop it. Also to that I say have you heard the first Islands album, Return to the Sea? Paul Simon-influenced Carribean music was their forte. On the second Islands album, Arm’s Way, the band has fleshed out their sound dramatically. It’s a theatrical pop orchestra of an album – this one definitely was not recorded in anyone’s bedroom. It opens with “The Arm”, where the band revisits one of their favorite themes: Death, this time in a “badass car crash”. The members of Islands recently started wearing all black instead of all white. A little cliche, maybe, but it fits the lyrics better. Presentation is important to me. Arm’s Way is clearly influenced by and references a frenzy of artists. They break it down like P. Simon yet again at the end of “J’aime Vous Voire Quitter” (take that Vampire Weekend!). But one of my favorite moments on the album is at the end of “In the Rushes”, when they unexpectedly transition into a cover of The Whos “A Quick One While He’s Away”, changing the lyrics to “you are forgotten” instead of “you are forgiven”. I don’t know which is better, to forgive or forget, but these kind of unexpected moments are making me love this album more with each listen. And who knows, they might even have a hit with “Creeper”. If you can’t move to this song, I don’t know how to help you.

Faves: “The Arm”, “Creeper”, “In the Rushes” and “I Feel Evil Creeping In”


Nightrain said...

This is an awesome review, and I wholeheartedly agree with your song shout-outs... Creeper = Hip thrusts.

I laughed out loud in the law library reading this just now... you may be responsible for my banishment.

michelle said...

um. im in love with your brain. for serious.

ancientindianwizard said...

you know that part in that one Patton Oswalt sketch where he says that the coolest album that he'll ever have when he has kids is Phil Collins "No Jacket Required"? When I was a kid the coolest album that my parents had was Paul Simon's "Graceland"... shit.. I already forgot where I was going with this..

anyways killer review. Makes me not only want to listen to the album but makes me want to re-listen to their first one which I don't think I ever gave a fair chance.

Anonymous said...

This album is not Islands/Unicorns. All the quirkiness is gone. The lyrics aren't as interesting or thought provoking. I feel like its the watered down remnants of a band I once loved... = (

That Guy Billy said...

This album grows on me with each listen. I'm really loving it.

As good as Return to the Sea.