Snap Sounds: Islands

Pub date February 23, 2012
WriterMia Sullivan



Nick Thorburn started constructing A Sleep & A Forgetting alone, on a piano, while processing a painful breakup. His soul-exposing lyrics carry questions and incredulity. Although there aren’t many uplifting spots in here — literally every song is sad — his voice oscillates between sunny and depressive, heartfelt and sardonic. Quite a conceptual turn from Islands’ last album, Vapours, which featured upbeat, carefree love songs.

In a daring act of honesty Thorburn, who says he’s “always hidden behind devices and humor” in his music, directly places himself in “This is Not a Song” through a third-person reference (“Nick, if you ever learn, it never shows”). The final, and perhaps most impactful, track — “Same Thing” — simulates a hanging sense of hopelessness and craze-inducing monotony via robot-like drum machine. A resigned melancholy permeates this album and leaves you meditating on love’s foreboding nature.


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