Islands - Wave Forms | Track Review | By Volume

I'm here to tell you love ain't some fucking blood on the receiver. Love is speaking in code. It's an inside joke. Love is coming home. The Format - If Work Permits
wave-forms

Islands

Wave Form

Comments (0)
Author: on July 17, 2013

Nick Thorburn has his Kübler-Ross stages mixed up – Ski Mask, the upcoming fifth album by Islands, is, according to its ubiquitous frontman, “really about being angry” and “kind of sums up my experience with being in a band” (thanks Pitchfork). Well, so much for being diplomatic at the next band meeting. After last year’s A Sleep & A Forgetting — a desolate portrait of a heart so crushed it was difficult to see any hope of a return — bleak and unrelenting as the music there was, you’d expect Thorburn to be saddling past “depression” and into “acceptance.” Yet perhaps A Sleep & A Forgetting was just the veil being lifted, the kind of transformative experience that allowed Thorburn to see clearly. And he doesn’t like what he sees.

Rough morning

Rough morning

A cursory listen to first single “Wave Forms” might have one thinking otherwise. It’s bouncy and beautiful, the kind of effortlessly hooky piano ditty that Thorburn has been churning out with remarkable consistency since his time in seminal indie band the Unicorns. But there’s always been a streak of darkness in his work – A Sleep & A Forgetting was almost too unvarnished in its approach, to the point of alienating many of his regular, non-depressive listeners. “Wave Forms” is more Islands’ style, disguising the lyrics with tropical-flavored xylophones and allegorical references to the past, in this case a reference to Return to the Sea and band mates past and present under the thin metaphor of a tired vacation.

The wistfulness is apparent and the enmity is not too far gone, either, even in a song so sonically bright: “I won’t write another word after today”, Thorburn sings, and even after A Sleep & A Forgetting, it’s impressive how you want to believe it. Perhaps the truest indicator of Ski Mask’s intentions comes in that hilariously obtuse album cover, one my girlfriend noted looked “like a cross between Chewbacca and Swamp Thing”. The title is emblazoned in Vice City neon and the unfortunate creature is sticking its tongue out at the viewer with an expression of childlike glee, but calling it sickly and disgusting would be an understatement. It’s signature Islands, playful on the surface and never giving away too much, yet with undercurrents that run far deeper than they initially appear. With a song like “Wave Forms”, Islands makes me want to believe that, finally, Ski Mask may be the“breakthrough moment” that Thorburn has been chasing since “Rough Gem” blew up the blogs what seems like forever ago.

Shuffle

Atlas_12Gatefold
Real Estate - Atlas
read more
likeclockwork
Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
read more
khanz
The Khanz - Deerhunter
read more
Inga_Copeland_Because_Im_Worth_It_750_750_90_s
copeland - BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT
read more
six feet
King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
read more
Big-K.R.I.T.-King-Remembered-In-Time
Big K.R.I.T. - King Remembered In Time
read more
The Men - Open Your Heart
read more
Amen-Dunes-Love-608x608
Amen Dunes - Love
read more

Stay on top of the best new music!

By Volume Weekly is a digest of the newest, sharpest music across genres and boundaries. We'll send you one easy email a week and nothing else. Just tap in your details below and you're ready to go.
* indicates required