Where Did The Unicorns Go?


Islands - Arm's Way Album Cover

So they pre-released their album cover. And then the album came out. (Well, technically it will be “out” in stores May 20th.) If the cover was any indication, I probably shouldn’t be surprised at the sound associated with that crazy looking cover.

I don’t know what happened to them. Was it the switch to Anti? Or the constantly changing and dropping of band members? Either way they seem to have lost their wit, fun and overall pop essence. If you still are looking for any connection to the Unicorns, forget it. The what- used-to-be-Unicorns seemed to have disintegrated somewhere in the album artwork.

Let’s talk about the artwork. What is it? What’s with it? Is the “epic” artwork an attempt to match their new “epic” rock sound?

Creeper” brings back the memories of the Island’s glory days from their album Return to the Sea. “Kids Don’t Know Shit” also got my attention. It reminded me slightly more of Arcade Fire than the Islands I knew. Just when you think all is lost, “Life In Jail” breaks into a country-violin-based break down, and just confuses me more.

I know they are changing their sound, I know bands do that from time to time. But, I don’t consider this a smooth or successful transition. They may being taking a step back with this release.

Islands – Rough Gem (from their first album: Return To The Sea)

Rating: C


4 Responses to “Where Did The Unicorns Go?”

  1. hey! i have to disagree with this review of Island’s “Arms Way”. Although the sound can be slightly grungy and muddled i would hardly call it epic or arcade fire-esque, as i’m sure your alluding to. The beat in “creeper” is almost a disco beat and the guitar in “vertigo” and “i feel evil creeping in” is very unicorns, in fact more a return to their unicorns roots from how i hear it. listen to “unicorns are people too” their demo. although they have lost some of their story telling capacity, moving away from songs like “jellybones” and “ghost mountain”, they have moved onto a more disillusioned and angrier sound (seen in songs like: Creeper, The Kids Don’t Know Shit, and The Arm”) but still retain their personal sound.

    just my (more than two cents) two cents.
    id like to hear your response – i agree with you on some points.

  2. double post i know:
    your formating made of smiley of my parenthesis.
    i dislike the album artwork as well.

  3. I hear what you say, goose, you’re right. It does sound angrier. We agree that they have a new sound. But my point is… I don’t like this new sound.

    I was a huge Unicorns fan, I was a huge Islands fan… but this… this… just strays away so much. I think they only way I’ll return to being such a fan is if they either join back together or start a new band entirely… which they tend to do, am i right? Drop a member, start a new band, drop a member release another album, drop a member…

  4. good point. i felt the same way the first ten times i listened to arms way. what changed how i heard the album was turning up the volume closing my eye’s and zoning into it. maybe it’ll work for you might be worth a try.

    i too am a huge unicorns fan, i love the symmetry of Who will cut our hair. i managed to find the demo CD/album, that was the single most awesome thing ive downloaded all year.

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