Yesterday marked the release of a 5th studio album from Montreal indie rockers Islands. The new release, titled Ski Mask, is a collection of heavily pop-oriented indie rock that features influences from a great number of genres packaged in light rock tunes. I can’t say that I have been a big Islands fan since their early albums, but there is no doubt Ski Mask is a worthy addition to their steadily diversifying catalog. The album is certainly easy and fun to listen to, but it still manages to deliver enough variability and power to keep me listening.
One of the first things that caught my attention was the definite disconnect between sound and lyrics on Ski Mask. Musically the whole album is light-hearted, but the lyrics seem to reflect a kind of isolation and frustration coming from frontman Nicholas Thorburn. I find it a bit peculiar when I heard Thorburn explain that the lyrics reflect some of his frustrations with being in a band, and the record being the result of Islands waiting for “a big breakthrough moment”. Motivations for making an album about being frustrated with life as a musician aside, Islands has still come through with an optimistic sounding record which elaborates the current definitions of indie-pop.
While it sounds like things could be a little better for the band, there doesn’t seem to be any indication of them slowing down. Yet again Islands has provided an album which will still please their fans while giving them a different sound from any of their previous records. I’m definitely missing some of the exploratory side of their debut album, Return to the Sea, but the new record is enjoyable, fun, creative, and a welcome addition to the library of indie pop-rock. Favorite tracks so far: “Of Corpse” and “We’ll Do It So You Don’t Have To”.