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by Rudy Klapper [29 Sep 2009 | 2 Comments | ]
THE CRITIC: Islands’ “Vapours” Full Of Endearing, Yet Unconventional, Pop Tunes

Nick Diamonds doesn’t give a fuck what you think. From his short-lived stint as Nick Thorburn, frontman of critically acclaimed but combustible indie group the Unicorns, to forming half of AM-pop/folk duo Human Highway, Diamonds has never been one to sit long in any one place, stylistically or otherwise, and he certainly hasn’t been one to follow the waves of popular opinion. No more so is this apparent than with Islands, the experimental-pop collective Diamonds formed following the Unicorns’ self-destruction and whose debut, Return To The Sea, was an eclectic collection of indie odds and ends. Their sophomore effort, last year’s Arm’s Way, was an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink gumbo of genres and instruments, the production bombastic and reveling in its excess, the band and Diamonds going balls-out in terms of ridiculous arrangements and bizarre lyricism. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that after the lavish results of Arm’s Way, Islands latest is almost like a comedown companion to that record, one that turns Islands’ sound in yet another new direction but retains the band’s strong pop foundations.