Diamonds are forever, although maybe not as stage names go. But if you haven’t seen Islands since Nick went back to given name Thorburn — and if you somehow missed our dispatches from Austin and their effusive Islandeering — the nominal shift is having no effect on the stage itself. (I.e. Islands are awesome.) If anything, the band’s an even more fascinating live act now, which, to those familiar with the group’s white-clad, multi-membered assault, is saying a lot. It could be a little bit in the switch to all-black attire, and the accompanying Nick-inwhite-face. Or it just could be that everything with you loved from the ex-Unicorner’s Return To The Sea is expanded and supplanted by the bolder, occasionally darker, definitely crunchier follow-up Arm’s Way. We heard “The Arm” a few weeks ago, which showed the lighter side of things; “Creeper” makes good on the darker (stabbings and knives! hiding in dark rooms!) side of things, the guitar chug and crunch, the colder beats. This is music for midnight, not those Islands tropical sunsets, and that makes it a very good time. All that, plus a superb knowledge of Texas.
[Photos from SXSW ’08]
Islands – “Creeper” (MP3)
You should have this one for the bipolar compare/contrast session
Islands – “The Arm” (MP3)
Arm’s Way is out 5/20 via Anti-. Here’s our public service for the day: making it as easy as we can for you to know how to see ‘em live:
04/16 – Buffalo, NY @ Soundlab
04/17 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
04/18 – Champaign, IL @ IMC
04/19 – Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin
04/21 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird
04/22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
04/24 – Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA (day show)
04/26 – Indio, CA (Coachella)
More dates soon.