CD Review: Islands — Vapours; Playing Lenny’s with WHY? October 31 & The Masquerade with The Happy Mondays and Psychedelic Furs at The Masquerade October 2
By Chris Homer
Islands' third album Vapours
marks a reunion for frontman Nick Diamond and collaborator Jamie Thompson,
who has returned to the group after departing following the release of 2006’s Return to the Sea. Vapours showcases
Diamond and Thompson’s work as collaborators. The album is packed with catchy
synthesizer melodies and dance-inducing drum machines, like the New Wave-style
synths on opener “Switched On” and the powerful beats of “No You Don’t.”
While Islands’ debut Return
to the Sea was built around unique orchestral pop and the follow-up Arms Way was based on guitar-powered
prog rock, Vapours’ electronic-pop
leanings mark yet another new sound for the group.
It is easy to enjoy this sound, and fans of Islands’ first two
albums should have no problem adapting. “Devout” becomes an instantly memorable
track with a clever combination of piano melodies and drowned-out dance beats.
“Tender Torture” also makes a lasting impression thanks to Islands’ signature
At other points on the album, Islands is successful fusing the
more guitar influenced sound of Arms Way with
the new style of Vapours.
The title track shines with the help of huge pop-guitar riffs and
a big band horn section that fits surprisingly well into the song. Likewise,
the heavy guitar distortion and floating synths of “Everything Is Under
Control” work to create a welcome psychedelic vibe. Even “EOL,” a fairly stripped-down, straight-ahead rock number
fits into the scheme of Vapours.
Islands adds another impressive album to their catalogue with Vapours. The group’s ability to find new
ways to innovate their sound while hanging on to the best of their older
influences is an accomplishment that speaks for the power of the album.
Islands play The Masquerade October 2 with The Happy Mondays and Psychedelic Furs, and Lenny's with WHY? on October 31. Tickets for the Lenny's show are available at Ticket Alternative.