Islands – Ski Mask
Album number five is an uninspiring effort from the Unicorns alumnus
Canadian indie outfit Islands have impressive heritage. Frontman Nick Thorburn was lead singer with the Unicorns, a blistering jewel in the famed early 2000s Montreal scene that released three stunning albums in two years. Thorburn’s work since then has been consistently pleasant, without ever managing to generate the same levels of excitement as what went before.
The trend continues on album number five Ski Mask. A few of the tracks on here (the Spoon-like opener Wave Forms, lyrically intelligent Becoming the Gunship and harmonic, sunny Here, Here in particular) have choruses that will lodge themselves in your psyche for hours, but they’re sadly in the minority. Too much of the record is MOR fodder – the decidedly dull Of Corpse and the awful, Arctic Monkeys-aping Nil spring to mind – laden with forgettable melodies and banal arrangements. It all makes for an album that flatters to deceive on occasion, but which on the whole is par for the course. [Finbarr Bermingham]