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CD Review: Islands 

Arm's Way

The Deal: Montreal pop/indie band releases sophomore album two years after highly-praised debut.

The Good: There must be something in the water up in Montreal. First, it was Arcade Fire and now, the overwhelming buzz/hype/praise is sure to follow Islands. Arm's Way is strong from start to finish. The album's instrumentation is downright inspiring and beautiful – oboe, clarinet, viola, violin. The strings give depth when it's needed most – heard easily on the album's first single, "The Arm." It's not always there. The band goes from the melodic opening tracks into the rocking, punk-like "Jaime Vous Voir Quitter" (with a calypso-ish, Caribbean segue in the middle.) The 12 songs clock in at nearly one hour and 10 minutes – no complaints there. Most songs clock in at five minutes or longer – epic without being tiring.

The Bad: Not much – well, maybe the occasional odd lyric (see "Abominable Snow") and the falsetto at the beginning of "Kids Don't Know Shit" (it gets better). This one's in the running for top 10 albums of '08.

The Verdict: Believe the hype, Islands is creating something fresh, unique and fun to listen to. The band will be at the Neighborhood Theatre on June 28.

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