Islands, the whimsical and darkly playful band fronted by Nick Thorburn, has been churning out records for more than a decade now. However, Thorburn’s style hasn’t deviated too far from his work in The Unicorns, the short-lived but much-loved band that put out one beautifully odd album and a disappointing EP in the early 2000s before running aground. When The Unicorns reunited for a handful of shows this past year, it wasn’t difficult to mentally place Thorburn back in the band’s triumvirate.
None of which is to say that his work in Islands isn’t quality stuff. Over the past seven albums, Thorburn has continued to experiment with jangly, rhythmic pop music, often to terrifically fun effect. The newest Islands album, out May 25, is in fact a simultaneous double release. There’s the guitar-driven, Should We Remain Here, at Sea and the electronic-focused Taste. Should We Remain sounds like top notch Thorburn, but Taste is something new, a slicker-sounding affair you could imagine blasting from the speakers of a convertible on a dreamily starry night.
On June 5, Islands be joined at Mississippi Studios by Honus Honus of the worldly, freak-pop outfit Man Man, who is touring in advance of his debut solo album, Use Your Delusion. In 2011, the two put out a joint effort, the sorely underrated, oddball rocker, Out of Love, under the moniker Mister Heavenly.
The two bounced off each other well, creating a record more manicured than anything Man Man might put out, but harder-edged than Thorburn’s general territory. (Fans might remember Michael Cera playing bass on a number of their shows opening for Passion Pit). I’m hoping Thorburn and Honus join for a few Mister Heavenly songs, but anything from their respective back catalogues will do just fine as well.»
– JP Kemmick