Music News


Releasing a "mature" followup to their acclaimed 2003 debut could have been a total disaster for ex-Unicorns Nick Diamonds and Jaime Tambeu. Considering that the Montreal group's unpredictable song structures and amateurish, lo-fi charm were what initially earned it so much praise, the decision to disband the Unicorns, start anew as Islands and release a comparatively traditional indie-pop record was certainly a gamble. But judging by Return to the Sea, Islands' debut, the risk has more than paid off. On Sea, Diamonds and Tambeu have replaced their former band's spastic weirdness with an emphasis on traditional structure and arrangement that showcases the breezy sounds of calypso, synth pop and rustic Americana. Although Sea lacks some of the Unicorns' surprises, its compelling and better-developed songs more than compensate, cementing Diamonds' status as a great pop songwriter.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Colin Cameron