Return to the Sea
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Return to the Sea
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Top Customer Reviews
Nobody knows exactly why. Some sort of bickering? In any case, the devastation that followed is ever present. Thousands of wondering fans clogging up message boards. Lying siege to whatever b-side track they can find. It seems after all that was said and done... there are still plenty of people around to cut their hair.
So something is given to you and then taken away. Its hard to get over it. And now frontman Nick Diamonds and drummer J'aime Tambeur have managed to salvage what's left of the band. It seems these two had split up only to find they were floating in the same direction anyway. Washed ashore, bruised and battered the surviving members take refuge on an Island. Ironically, the final words "I woke up thirsty on an island in the sea" on the last track of Unicorn's album, was spot on. And in many ways Islands is a band that continues the legacy of The Unicorns. Picking up the pieces, but, somewhat wiser, more grown up, and a little more cautious.
Its difficult to pick this up and pretend the Unicorns never happened.
The band has lost much of its naivety, youthful invincibility, and with that, lost the charismatic care free (almost careless) antics. Its not as fun. Its lost its cartoonish rocky horror show spectacle. Short balloon-popping tracks, are traded for more tamed and expansive songs.Read more ›
Having heard the goofy, somewhat sloppy pop of The Unicorns, I was caught off guard a bit by how polished Return From The Sea sounds. There are still some buzzing analogue synths and occasionally silly vocals, but there are also plenty of horns, woodwinds, some strings, and an absolutely huge step in terms of songwriting and instrumentation. It doesn't take any longer than the first track for that to become apparent, as "Swans (Life After Death)" plays out for nearly ten minutes, opening with some strummy guitar and theremin-sounding keyboards before locking into a building verse and chorus that moves through several smooth progressions before dropping into a classic-rock inspired end section.
After the waltzing "Humans," the album hits what is easily the best section starting with "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby." Clocking in at only two and a half minutes, the song is easily one of the most catchy on the entire album, mixing slightly morbid lyrics with infectious instrumentation. "Rough Gem" does its best to top the former track, blasting gloriously giddy synth-pop punctuated by strings and reeds that hit in all the right places.Read more ›
After a while of mourning, I finally heard the MP3's of Islands's Abominable Snow, and Flesh, and I thought they were fun, and Unicorn-like songs. Abomiable Snow being about an encounter with a yeti, and Flesh seemed to bring a sexy side to Diamond's writing. I was no longer mad at Unicorns.
Return to the Sea opens with an epic opener Swans(Life After Death), where Tambeur's drums are the main focal point to the song, changing moods after five minutes or so. In my mind it's one of the best opening tracks on a CD since Arcade Fire's Funeral.
Rough Gem is one of those songs that have the riff that will never leave your head, with keyboard, violins, and then a synth.
My favorite track on the CD is Where There's a Will There's a Whalebone, where there is one of the best raps I have ever heard. I really have no idea if it is any of the members of Unicorns or if it is a rapper from Anti-con or something, but it is phenomenal.
Another track that stands out for me is If, where there's a low swing, and a soft saxaphone solo that makes it one of the best moments in the CD.
Islands are my new Unicorns, and if I hear the news that Islands are breaking up, but moving onto some other project, I will no longer mourn, but be anticapited for more greatness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best albums of the century. Stop reading and go listen.Published 22 months ago by Es. B.
Been listening to Islands since Return to the Sea came out and have been fortunate enough to see them live twice! Read morePublished 23 months ago by Joe
I saw Islands open for Metric at the Fonda in Hollywood. they put on an awesome show - complete with a flaming guitar, a 8+ person music ensemble, and most importantly - excellent... Read morePublished on February 6, 2007 by Shane Carpenter
Somewhere between "The Pixies" and "The Flaming Lips". Love the way they dont take themselves too seriously. Great little album if you are driving to the beach.Published on November 27, 2006 by S. O'boyle
I bought this album, listened to it, then payed no attention to it, dismissing it. I came back to it a couple weeks later and really started getting into it. Read morePublished on November 23, 2006 by chuck darwin
The Unicorns turned out one album and one EP before shattering, reforming under a different name, shattering again, and scattering into other bands. Read morePublished on November 20, 2006 by E. A Solinas
Having never heard the Unicorn's music, I was a little skeptical of buying this album, and after the first listen, I wasn't too impressed. Read morePublished on October 31, 2006 by D. Alvarez
...i'm just not feeling it yet. It's got a cool world sound kinda vibe, but if you're expecting the unicorns, don't. the only song that vaguely resembles unicorns is "Rough Gem". Read morePublished on August 17, 2006 by R. Zuniga
Islands are the best cover band I've heard since Cream. Their rendition of Gladys Knight's "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby" brings me to tears every fourth time I listen to it. Read morePublished on July 7, 2006 by A. J. Richard