Islands Announce Two New Albums, Share Lead Singles “Back Into It” & “Charm Offensive” (Stereogum Premiere)

Very rarely do bands release two albums on the same day. Guns N’ Roses famously did it with Use Your Illusion I and II in 1991, though those could just as easily have been packaged as one massive double album. Bright Eyes pulled off a more successful creative partition in 2005 with the folk-rocking I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning and the electro-popping Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. And now Islands will attempt a similar feat, releasing sixth LP Taste and seventh LP Should I Remain Here At Sea? on the same day this coming May. Today they share each album’s lead single along with some comments from Islands leader Nick Thorburn, he of Unicorns and Serial fame.

First up is “Back Into It,” the first advance track from the Solaris-referencing Should I Remain Here At Sea?. The album is billed as a raw and ragged pop-rock affair as well as a spiritual sequel to 2006 debut Return To The Sea, one that uses wildlife and technology as a framework for discussing “religion, race, addiction, and murderous fantasies” as well as “heartache, numb disillusionment and emotional disorientation.” The deceptively jubilant “Back Into It” might be the most Unicorns-reminsicent track in Islands’ oeuvre. Explains Thorburn:

“Back Into It” “is a study in contradiction. It’s a bright, loose affair, with bubblegum backing vocals and major key guitar chugging, but you don’t have to dig that deep to hear the venom, acrimonious and sour. When someone rains on your parade, make rain on your parade lemonade.

Then there’s “Charm Offensive,” from the similarly disenchanted but electronically inclined Taste. It’s one of the best songs in Islands’ catalog, one that manages to be quirky and sleek all at once. Here’s Thorburn again:

“Charm Offensive” is all sharp angles, smooth lines and mechanical melodies, but just underneath is a desire for the round edges, the soft corners, a loose swing and some crude revelry. I was trying to express that urge to find the good times, and let the bad ones go. To stop using songwriting as a pool to wallow in. To find the light, to sneak in, “pull back the shades, see the darkness fade.”

Listen to both songs below.

Islands are on tour this May and June:

05/19 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le “Ritz” P.D.B
05/20 Allston, MA @ Great Scott
05/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
05/22 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/24 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
05/25 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s Music Diner
05/26 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
05/27 Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch
05/28 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
06/03 Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
06/04 Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
06/05 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
06/07 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
06/09 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom
06/10 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
06/11 Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse Saloon

Taste and Should I Remain Here At Sea? are out 5/13. Pre-order through PledgeMusic or at iTunes (here’s Taste and here’s Should I Remain Here At Sea?).