12 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the end of opening track ("The Arm") with its Spaghetti western-flavored guitars and symphonic strings executing the most perfect pas de deux in recent indie pop history, a certain anticipation settles in; it’s a real stunner. Montreal's Islands had a banner year in 2006 when they debuted with Return to the Sea, an inspiring mix of pop flavorings. Here, main Islander Nick Thorburn takes things up a notch, vying for a top spot in the (so far) sparsely populated field of indie prog-rock; Arms’ Way gives us songs that are easy to listen to but take a while to absorb, with orchestrated, lush arrangements offset by a perfect balance of rock (not pop) guitars, thundering drums, and unexpected time shifts and song structures. Thorburn’s vocals are in fine form, whether they’re wrapping around emotive high notes like an embrace, or discharging caustic stingers (the ferocious “J’aime Vous Voire Quitter” has the line: “You said you had my back/but I was attacked by a pack of dogs frothing at the mouth”).  There are many additional brilliant moments here: “Creeper,” “Kids Don’t Know,” “I Feel Evil” and the grand “To A Bond” are all dazzling, evocative, full-bodied works.  Sip and enjoy.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the end of opening track ("The Arm") with its Spaghetti western-flavored guitars and symphonic strings executing the most perfect pas de deux in recent indie pop history, a certain anticipation settles in; it’s a real stunner. Montreal's Islands had a banner year in 2006 when they debuted with Return to the Sea, an inspiring mix of pop flavorings. Here, main Islander Nick Thorburn takes things up a notch, vying for a top spot in the (so far) sparsely populated field of indie prog-rock; Arms’ Way gives us songs that are easy to listen to but take a while to absorb, with orchestrated, lush arrangements offset by a perfect balance of rock (not pop) guitars, thundering drums, and unexpected time shifts and song structures. Thorburn’s vocals are in fine form, whether they’re wrapping around emotive high notes like an embrace, or discharging caustic stingers (the ferocious “J’aime Vous Voire Quitter” has the line: “You said you had my back/but I was attacked by a pack of dogs frothing at the mouth”).  There are many additional brilliant moments here: “Creeper,” “Kids Don’t Know,” “I Feel Evil” and the grand “To A Bond” are all dazzling, evocative, full-bodied works.  Sip and enjoy.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
86 Ratings

86 Ratings

refereelarry ,

EPIC

Although it is a departure from Return to the Sea, Islands have once again made some top notch music. Every song on this album feels different, and the production level went up from RttS. The songs might sound different, but they have the same Islands feel: EPIC. Each song has its own sound and feels like it was made separatley from each other... on RttS, the songs flowed a little better (Rough Gem, Tsuxiit, Whalebone). Arms Way feels like the songs are all singles or something, very different from the others. That is the only complaint, that the songs dont flow as smoothly as they did in RttS. But still.. if you are a fan of The Unicorns / Islands / MUSIC, you owe it to yourself to get Arms Way

loomingfabric ,

Spit on what the professional critics say...

This album is a step up from their debut, and everyone knows Return to the Sea was great. Arm's Way ends up being polished, snappy, and bursting of lively lyrics about death (oh the delicious irony). It's a must-have for any pop-rock fan. Believe me, you'll not want to stop listening to this - get the whole freakin' album.

insert_witty_phrase ,

Very Nice

I like it better than the last. It's more polished, a little darker, reaches a little deeper; yet, without compromising what they had going before.
Well done, Islands, well done. *golf claps*

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