Islands – Arm’s Way

Anti Records really knows what they’re doing by releasing the sophomore effort of Montreal’s Islands. On Arm’s Way, Islands create a gorgeous symphonic record and an excellent follow-up to their 2006 debut Return To The Sea. The bowed string instruments and woodwinds utilized by this diverse sextet provides for a lush and beautiful sound fairly atypical to the current indie rock scene.

Rich, smooth and hooked out, the almost epically long songs (by today’s standards anyway) on Arm’s Way manage to remain dynamic and interesting in their entirety, unlike many contemporaries who are far too repetitious in their songwriting. Guitars trill and often race violins, tempos seamlessly switch up at unexpected moments and synth-laden dance beats catch you off guard. With more than half a dozen instruments featured on Arm’s Way, Islands has so much going on musically, yet never becomes overwhelming.

Islands manages a variety of sounds within Arm’s Way. “J’aime Vous Voir Quitter” contains an island beat while “Creeper” has a funky 80s feel. “In The Rushes” conjures a smooth, almost Latin feel a la the sound of label mates DeVotchKa then takes on a 50s pop vibe which is followed by a surf rock/California pop nod in the vocals of “We Swim.” The album finishes out the with a gypsy feel on “Vertigo (If It’s A Crime).” Islands has no trouble floating seamlessly between the dark and heavy and the light and airy. Arm’s Way is easily accessible and remains beautiful and interesting throughout its 68 minutes.

“J’aime Vous Voir Quitter” alone has me believing that Islands must be amazing live, which works out beautifully as the band is set to begin a national tour (dates below) to promote the record, starting in Washington DC on Thursday, May 22nd. They’ll make their way along the northern United States, venturing into their Canadian motherland and swing around the West Coast and Southwest before making their way back to the East Coast, ending in North Carolina in late June.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Islands’ Arm’s Way, available now, and catch the guys on tour this summer!

01. The Arm
02. Pieces of You
03. J’aime Vous Voir Quitter
04. Abominable Snow
05. Creeper
06. Kids Don’t Know Shit
07. Life In Jail
08. In the Rushes
09. We Swim
10. To a Bond
11. I Feel Evil Creeping In
12. Vertigo (If It’s a Crime)

Tour Dates:
May 22 – Black Cat/Washington, D.C.
May 23 – First Unitarian Church/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 24 – Webster Hall/New York City, New York
May 25 – Middle East/Boston, Massachusetts
May 27 – Babylon/Ottawa, Ontario
May 28 – Le National/Montreal, Quebec
May 29 – The Phoenix/Toronto, Ontario
May 30 – Call the Office/London, Ontario
May 31 – The Starlight/Waterloo, Ontario
Jun 01 – Crofoot/Pontiac, Michigan
Jun 02 – Logan Square Auditorium/Chicago, Illinois
Jun 03 – First Ave./Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 04 – The Aquarium/Fargo, North Dakota
Jun 05 – West End Cultural Centre/Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jun 06 – Amigo’s/Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Jun 07 – Starlite/Edmonton, Ontario
Jun 07 – Starlite/Edmonton, Alberta
Jun 08 – Warehouse/Calgary, Alberta
Jun 10 – Plaza Club/Vancouver, British Columbia
Jun 12 – Neumo’s/Seattle, Washington
Jun 13 – Hawthorne Theatre/Portland, Oregon
Jun 14 – Broadway Block Party/Eugene, Oregon
Jun 16 – Bimbo’s 365/San Fransisco
Jun 17 – Henry Fonda Theatre/Los Angeles, California
Jun 19 – Epicentre/San Diego, California
Jun 20 – Club Congress/Tuscon, Arizona
Jun 21 – Clubhouse/Tempe, Arizona
Jun 23 – Emo’s Outside/Austin, Texas
Jun 24 – Granada Theatre/Dallas, Texas
Jun 25 – Walter’s/Houston, Texas
Jun 26 – Chelsea’s/Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Jun 27 – Masquerade/Atlanta, Georgia
Jun 28 – Neighbourhood Theatre/Charlotte, North Carolina

Islands: website | myspace
Anti Records: website

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