Islands – Arm’s Way

12 Jun


No fancy introduction today… instead we dive straight into the music! I will be reviewing an album in an interesting fashion. I will only talk about the first and the last songs and see how they relate to the album as a whole. Hopefully it shows how much those two songs mean to an album.

Arm’s way is the title of the album. The Arm is the title of this song and as the first song on the album, I find it to be highly appropriate for some reason. The name of the Canadian band is Islands and Arm’s Way is their second studio album.

The first thing you should notice about this song is the amazing intro. Soft humming flows into a pretty violin trill. A bass drop and a heavier beat make room and a shriek queues in the song. If I was to make a top 10 intro’s list, this one would most definitely be up there.

The song in my opinion is one of the most idyllic takes on classic rock. First and foremost, the violins are such a nice touch. They are used sparingly to create a quasi-classical atmosphere. And it isn’t only violins. There is a piano and several different guitars all taking turns to make for a very interesting song.

Secondly, and most importantly to me, you can understand the lyrics! (Most of them anyway) This is so important to me because all too often good lyrics are wasted simply because the singer is unintelligible. But no, not this band. The man’s voice is clear and his lyrics about “arm’s way” have you yearning for him to slip and actually include the h in that first word. After all he is alluding to something, right?

In my opinion this is an all-around good song. At around four minutes a short down beat with screeching violins is expertly executed and foreshadows future songs. At five minutes, just as you think the song is ending, a march styled beat is employed, definitely not something you hear everyday.

Just the right mix of everything epic.

Excuse the two part video, this next one’s a long one.

Compare that first one to this last song on the album, Vertigo (If it’s a crime). The intro instantly fills you in on the mood at that point in the album. I like to think it’s a concept album even though I don’t think it is. Vertigo would be the direct final result of arm’s way, if that makes any sense. Also, this song makes even more sense if you compare it to the first song on their next alphabetically ordered album.  But I digress, you will have to explore that on your own.

The song is really slow and moody. The lyrics are soft and particularly melancholic, while the guitar has some really cool wah-wah action going on and what seems like panning. It a very relaxing song, but it fills you with this sort of mysterious loathing mixed with anxiety for what is coming next.

At around four minutes a shaker signifies an epic transition. The vocal ooh’s and the violin’s create a bittersweet atmosphere. Everything slowly fades away and the stage is set for one of the most breathtaking instrumentals ever.

Do you know when something is so sad and moody, but with just the right mix of an up-beat it actually results in something that is astoundingly beautiful? Yeah, sit back and enjoy it, because words cannot describe it.

Seriously, because before you know it you will be listening to the outro, and in which case you might feel a slight rising sensation. And yes, I believe that alludes to something as well. If you find that crazy, simply find the name of that first song off the next alphabetical album which I mentioned earlier and your mind will be blown, especially considering that that album that would be their first album.

The only thing I find funny about that scenario if it was intentional is that now they can’t use any album name starting with the letters A-R. But again, I do digress.

If you are lost, don’t worry about it. I have presented to you the first and last song of this amazing album and hopefully it paints a pretty accurate description of the scope of everything in between. This band successfully manages to keep an album interesting without having to change up their sound too much from song to song which is quite a feat in today’s day and age.

I definitely recommend it as it is probably one of Islands’ best. Although their first and alphabetically second is up there as well…



P.S. If you haven’t researched yet, I’ll help you out! haha Their first album is named Return to the Sea. Maybe that may be able to clear some things up and maybe uncover even more cool connections between the two album’s which I may have missed. Here is the single from Harm’s… errr Arm’s Way for being a good sport.

One Response to “Islands – Arm’s Way”

  1. Trent McDobble November 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Excellently reviewed and analyzed. Definitely will follow this band and blogger!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: