New Islands song – “The Arm”

The Unicorns were something special. Even though they put out two albums, a little heard and produced (500 copies) debut Unicorns Are People Too, and then a proper studio effort in 2003, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, the indie-pop band from Montreal, led by singer Nick Diamond has a gusto about them. There was something childlike and sophisticated about their songs. The lyrics and the melodies worked to just give you that warm happy feeling.

When the band broke up in 2004, Nick Diamond went on to start Islands. Islands were the grown up version of The Unicorns. Their debut album, Return to Sea, was a sprawling work of ambition. The soundscapes were more polished, however, they lost none of the playfulness. They are, hyperbole aside, one of the most sublime pop bands working in music, in part because they are not beholden to any sort of pop standards. They maintain tight song structures, even when they are being adventurous with how they achieve that.


Their new album, Arm’s Way, is scheduled to drop in April. Until then, this is one of the new tracks from it. “The Arm” has a sort of Sergio Leone western feel to it, which I guess would give it a Ennio Morricone feel to it, since Leone was the director and not the composer of the film. But whatevs. The song is pretty great and shows even further development of the band’s soundscapes.

The line that kills me in this song, again and again, is “your anxiety is a tapestry.” It stops me cold every time, even more so then the mentions of “a lifeless carcass in a badass car crash, hopefully you’ll wake up soon. I want you too.” Which is just a weird way of saying I love you.

Mp3: Islands – “The Arm”

Tour dates after the jump.

Islands Tour Dates
Feb 18 Dublin, Ireland Whelan?s
Feb 19 Belfast, Ireland Speakeasy
Feb 20 Manchester, UK Night and Day
Feb 21 Bristol, UK Thekla
Feb 23 Nottingham, UK Liar?s Club at Stealth
Feb 24 Brighton, UK Barfly
Feb 25 Cambridge, UK Barfly
Feb 26 London, UK Hoxton Bar and Grill
Feb 27 Paris, France Point FMR
Feb 28 Rotterdam, Netherlands Rotown
Feb 29 Nijmegen, Netherlands Merelyn
Mar 01 Amsterdam, Netherlands Paradiso
Mar 02 Bruxelles, Belgium Botanique
Mar 03 Utrecht, Netherlands Tivoli
Mar 09 Pontiac, MI CroFoot Theater
Mar 10 Newport, KY Southgate House
Mar 11 Memphis, TN hi Tone
Mar 12 Denton, TX Hailey?s
Mar 13 Austin, TX – SXSW (Emo?s)
Mar 14 Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar 15 Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar 17 Norman, OK Opolis
Mar 18 Columbia, MO Blue Note
Mar 19 St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
Mar 20 Bloomington, IN Rhino?s

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