In this accelerated media-driven world we inhabit, bands can turn from Beatles to Wings in a mere fraction of the time previously required. It’s like bands go through their careers at hyperspace speeds in some space-aged, Ron Popeil-branded, time-saving apparatus. Set it and forget it!

Such is the case with Montreal’s Islands, whose core members once made up two-thirds of the Unicorns, the avant-popsters that incited many a calloused digit within the blogosphere. With Islands’ Return to the Sea, Nick Diamonds and J’aime Tambeur are no less quirky than in their former incarnation, but the tracks are often snappier sing-alongs, easy to digest after one listen but infused with enough intricate nuances to maintain long-term appeal.

“Rough Gem” opens with a swooning synth line that recalls the Cyndi Lauper/Prince collabo, “When You Were Mine,” with all of the same cheeky sentiment: “I’m a rough gem!” Diamonds exclaims. But, for the more adventurous, there are trippy progged-out moments like the Police-on-peyote romp “Where There’s a Will There’s a Whalebone” and the “Me & Julio”-style picnic ditty “Jogging Gorgeous Summer.”

Islands tour dates:

4/19, Cambridge, MA (The Middle East) 4/20, Providence, RI (The Living Room)4/21, Northampton, MA (Iron Horse)4/22, New York, NY (Avalon)4/23, Philadelphia, PA (First Unitarian Church)4/24, Baltimore, MD (Ottobar)4/25, Washington, DC (The Black Cat)4/26, Carrboro, NC (Cat’s Cradle)4/28, Pensacola, FL (TBA)4/29, Houston, TX (Walter’s On Washington)4/30, Denton, TX (Hailey’s)5/1, Austin, TX (Emo’s)5/3, Tuscon, AZ (Club Congress)5/4, San Diego, CA (Epicentre)5/5, Los Angeles, CA (El Rey)5/6, San Francisco, CA (Slim’s)5/8, Portland, OR (Loveland International)5/10, Seattle, WA (Neumo’s)5/12, Salt Lake City, UT (Kayo Gallery)5/13, Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)5/14, Lawrence, KS (Bottleneck)5/17, Chicago, IL (Metro)5/18, Cleveland, OH (The Grog Shop)5/19, Toronto, ON (Opera House)5/20, Montreal, QC (Le National)

Islands on MySpace

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