Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

CD Review: Islands 

Vapours (ANTI-)

If it wasn't already apparent from his mug gracing the cover of Islands' third album, Vapours, all the pre-album press certainly confirms it: This album is a Nick Thorburn production. The de facto leader of the Montreal sextet seemed content to hide behind the Vapours moniker and the rest of his bandmates for Islands' first two outings — 2006's immaculate Return to the Sea and 2008's too-proggy-for-its-own-good Arm's Way. But this time out, he's almost become synonymous with the band.

Opener "Switched On" sounds like the Beach Boys playing Afro-pop. Tracks like "Devout," "Shining" and "No You Don't" find Thorburn steering the band in an electro direction. The title track covers more musical ground in less than three minutes than most bands can navigate in twice the time, while the chorus of "Disarming the Car Bomb" is guaranteed to be shouted at every Islands gig they play.Thorburn's falsetto vocals are featured throughout, most prominently on "The Drums" and the blissy, spacious album closer, "Everything Is Under Control." Part of the appeal of Return to the Sea was that the band let the tunes fully breathe. Conversely, Arm's Way sucked all of the air out of the room. Vapours comes close to finding a perfect medium between the two. — Jeremy Willets

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation