24 October 2009

Time & Place: Islands' "Vapours" understood, or not

Editor's note: This was written a month go but is just being published today.

This is the first time I'm listening to this album. I have never heard any of these songs before.
It's just before 9 am on Saturday, September 26. I just woke up. I slept 16 hours after coming back from Sufjan's show in Cleveland, OH. I'm still high from it.

Consider this an experiment in the latest (or oldest) of album-reviewing technology: basically a live-blogged stream-of-consciousness thoughts of this album. Which, biases revealed, "Arm's Way" was taken out of its case the day I bought it and has resided in our car ever since. It is on our list of top-10 desert albums.

Switched On Yep, this CD is definitely on and playing. A bit of a shock to the system as gradual fade-ins seem to have been popular recently. Oh, and there's the singing. It seems to have a slightly Caribbean Beat. Chikka-Chikka-Wow!

No You Don't I can attest this first line is true. This is funky-tastic, like a disco version of a horror-carousel. But, because I'm a dork, I woudl put this on a mix right after the Mountain Goats' song "No, I Can't." Because that would be funny, right? I think I'm adopting "don't back down in your wedding gown" as a new personal mantra.

Vapours Title tack... Silly Canadians, U's are for Brits! I'm geting a sort of 70's groove on this one too. A lot simpler, though. Shiny brass with a growling sax.

Disarming the Car Bomb You know, I like this sound. It flows. That thrilling and soothing are not only not-mutually exclusive, but that they could blend. There's a lot of 80's-type feedback that's been popular lately, like they understudied with Cut/Copy for a week while Nick Diamonds was still arranging the bass parts.

Tender Torture I'm glad Islands is progressing they way they are. They ARE progressing and getting ever-more complex, as well they should, so you never feel like you're still listening to the Unicorns. But they're not by such radical leaps and bounds that each album is so different that it takes a while to "get it" and get into it. Not the case here for sure.

Shining Wait, did Radiohead's Amnesiac just come on? The lyrics are way creepy. Instead of seduction I'm getting visions of antisocial 40-something pedos with a handful of lollipops and a freshly refurbished windowless van. *shudder*

On Foreigner Oh boy, I hope this song is about Foreigner! haha, no. It has a lovely beginning though. "Don't drop the needle on the groove" is a great line. This has a vague middle-eastern kinda beat. I keep sayin' it: Woodblock is the new Cowbell. and I want More Woodblock!!

Heartbeat Despite my anticipation, It is not a cover of the Annie song. It Sure is rhythmic, though, plodding, regular, drum/beat-based. So, really, this is more like Kanye West singing distorted vocals over Sufjan Stevens' "Year of the Ox." ........nah.

The Drums Bad Boys! Bad Boys! Whatcha Gonna Do, Whatcha gonna do when Islands comes for you?! I swear, if you don't sing that to the instrumental intro, you've just lost all humor. It's kind of slow. Actually, even though we're getting into more "Amnesiac" territory by the end, it's kind of boring.

EOL Oh, ¾ time, my waltzing beau. Sweet. Simple. Nothing much to say.

Everything Is Under Control Well, this is no 11-minute, 3-movement extro, which, personally, I'm bummed about. But that can be overdone easily, and this soft, oceanic echo is a pretty sweet closing deal on Vapours. I AM IN CONTROL! Thanks, Islands!

...But you don't have to take my word for it...
Islands - No You Don't.mp3
Islands - Disarming the Car Bomb.mp3

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