I saw the band Islands live on Thursday at John Dee in Oslo. As most indie peeps should know, Islands formed as a response to the split-up of The Unicorns and contained two members from that trio – but Islands is now down to just one original unicorn member.
The Unicorns were a great, interesting band. Messy and whimsical songs, both in terms of melodies and arrangements, and it all came together in a delicious soup served as the album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, apparently about crash landing on a desert island. Islands followed up the concept with their debut album Return To Sea, which was apparently about surviving on a desert island. However, the sound was turning more into what I’d label as generic indie laptop pop-rock. So gone were most of the messy arrangements of The Unicorns, replaced with consistency and tightness. So to speak frankly, Islands seems to me like a mediocre and more radio friendly version of The Unicorns, but seeing as The Unicorns were so great to start with it’s still pretty okay sounding.
As for the concert, it was pretty decent. Better than I’d feared it would be, with some interacting with the audience and some surprisingly long but mostly fun instrumental parts. The vocals were a bit too low though, and they didn’t play their best song from their debut, “Volcanoes”, which was rather disappointing. Tried taking a couple of pictures with the camera on my cell phone, but didn’t turn out that great, as expected.
The supporting band was the Norwegian The Southern Alps. They didn’t blow me away, but it was a pretty pleasant listening experience. I maybe wish they’d rocked out just a little bit, let loose and done some stomping and hollering. Anyway, I found one of their songs for free downloading online at one of their sites, so I may as well end this entry with it. Enjoy.