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Islands Arm’s Way

Since his days fronting weird-pop kings Unicorns, Nick Thorburn (formerly Nicolas Diamonds) has shown a knack for unpredictable melodies and antisocial behavior. Arm’s Way, the second record from his Islands project, comes a full two years after the well-received Return to the Sea, and evolves Thorburn’s songwriting further. Louder and much fuller, the symphonic rock epics on Arm’s Way benefit from bigger production and vast ideas. Opener “The Arm” is all orchestral bliss rock, while “J’aime Vous Voir Quitter” transforms its violent first half to a Graceland-themed finish. Strengthened by more focused songwriting and heavy arrangements, Arm’s Way is arguably the most satisfying record Thorburn has created.

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