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Islands - Arm's Way CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars The more I listen to this album, the less I like it, although I do see why they are included here. The music is slick, well played pop, with a few nods toward prog and psychedelic. But what brings them down, to my ears, is a sound that usually invokes Duran Duran or Coldplay.

The best, and proggiest, songs are Abominable Snow a fine homage to Sasquatch, and Vertigo (If It's a Crime), which ends the album on a proper note. But too much of this album just doesn't draw me in, leaving me that that old Duran Duran feeling.

2.5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#306576)
Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Following up their debut, Islands changed their sound quite a significant amount. There are a lot more verse/chorus bits here, and a lot more sing-along choruses (but not in an AOR so much as that quirky way indie rock bands have). The Arm, Kids Don't Know Shit, and I Feel Evil Creeping In are each excellent examples of this.

Interestingly, this is the album that earned Islands their place here in Progarchives. To me, it is their debut album that is their proggiest, although I understand why this one got them included here. There is a bit of maturity here, and the addition of violins, that gives the music here a more distinctly symphonic texture here as opposed to their very indie-sounding debut.

The songs here are tighter and more consistent than they were on the debut, which is both a blessing and a curse. This album is imminently listenable, and from the first listen I've had these songs stuck in my head. I've listened to this album three times in the past day simply because the music will not leave my head. However, this sheen makes the album a bit less adventurous than their debut, which switched from extended psychedelic to odd instrumental to a piece with rap in the middle to folk, yet all staying within a recognisable sound. Here the band explores less different avenues of their sound, and so when you reach I Feel Evil Creeping In, it doesn't feel like you've gone that far from Life In Jail.

The album does end on a superb piece of music, Vertigo, the "epic" on this album, which while still very much in the mould of this album does offer more time for the instruments to build up texture and atmosphere, and does take the sound further than any other track.

Overall an enjoyable, light listen that entertains but does not hit very deep.

Report this review (#466254)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink

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