Islands – A Sleep and A Forgetting Islands – A Sleep and A Forgetting

Islands - A Sleep and A Forgetting

To be fair, I was excited at the announcement of a new Islands record. I may have screamed like prepubescent girl. In 2006, Islands released Return to Sea which took over my life for at least 4 months. This was during a period in my life when I was discovering indie rock and the possibility of life changing records from new bands. Return to Sea struck the middle ground between emotional honesty and delicate imagination. It also annoyed the shit out of my roommates. Since 2006, I have been enthusiastic regarding new records from Islands. Some points have been great while others have been somewhat disappointing. Though, everything for the most part had been pleasant. The announcement of a new Islands record has not only caused restrained anticipation but waves of dread among my friends and loved ones. They have resigned themselves to be unwilling participants In Nick Diamond’s realistic fantasy world.

I just mentioned fantastic realism as a thread which runs throughout all of Island’s work. This is true except for this one. Damn it. A Sleep and A Forgetting was started on Valentine’s Day last year. According to Nick Diamonds, the album was inspired by his failed relationship, his migration to Los Angeles and the availability of a piano. A Sleep and A Forgetting was released on Valentine’s Day this year and is, perhaps, one of the most diametrically opposing albums to celebrate a fake holiday devoted to love. Well, maybe it is perfect then. Islands slow themselves to a crawl with 40 minutes of piano driven ballads of longing, despair, and hatred huddled inside the decaying shell of love. Here Sweetie, I brought you chocolates.

Islands preceded A Sleep and A Forgetting with “This is Not a Song,” which acted as an overture to a new light AM version of a band once drenched in quirky oddities. “This is Not a Song” was odd but after traveling through the album multiple times, it feels oddly fitting. Everything is stripped away leaving Diamond’s very recognizable wail. If you enjoyed Mister Heavenly for this same reason then you may enjoy A Sleep and A Forgetting. If you enjoy Diamond’s solo effort then it may help you enjoy this. For me, I am not as taken with this as I was with 2009’s Vapours and not nearly as moved as I was in 2006.

Silence is the key throughout A Sleep and A Forgetting as well as the suggestion of melody. Each song is hinged on the weight of words delivered over soft timbres. Dense and somewhat loud songs like “I Can Feel My Face” feels subdued and miles away from previous works. At points, this quiet style suits the band with laconic numbers like “Oh Maria”. As a whole though, there seems to be something missing in a once functional partnership. The loss and longing experienced by Diamonds is shared with the listeners as they are deprived of the previous lush version which used to make me cry.

A Sleep and A Forgetting is very reactionary and proposes another kink in the band’s history. Each album in Island’s catalog is another breath in a completely different space. In 2012 we are given the warm darkness. Perhaps, one day, there will be sunlight again.

1. In A Dream It Seemed Real
2. This Is Not A Song
3. Never Go Solo
4. No Crying
5. Hallways
6. Can’t Feel My Face
7. Lonely Love
8. Oh Maria
9. Cold Again
10. Don’t I Love You
11. Same Thing

Islands - A Sleep and A Forgetting, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-02-22T09:42:31-08:00 rating 3.4 out of 5

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