Published May 11, 2016Taste is one of two new Islands records being released on the same day. Make no mistake, though: they do not comprise a double album, but rather two wholly unique records making simultaneous debuts. Taste, officially the sixth Islands LP, showcases their synthy/electronic leanings, and is at times reminiscent of both Islands' 2009 effort Vapours and Islands front man Nick Diamonds' (a.k.a. Nick Thorburn) 2015 solo record, City of Quartz.
As with Quartz, Taste features largely midtempo songs, anchored by plodding synths and drum machine beats. Though at first blush things may sound a little antiseptic or cold, careful listening reveals a beating heart beneath the electronic instrumentation — the feeling here is less detached cool, and more fun. The hooks, as on almost all Islands records, are plentiful; fans of 2008's gold standard Islands single "Creeper" will find plenty to love, whether it's the slinky "No Milk, No Sugar," the propulsive "It's Heaven" or album highlight "The Weekend," a near-perfect gem that sounds like it was cryogenically frozen in 1983 and thawed just in time for inclusion here.
With multiple bands and a career's worth of great songs already in the rearview, listeners have come to expect a certain degree of pop proficiency from Thorburn, and Taste maintains that pedigree. If one were to quibble, Taste is maybe a couple of tracks too long, and could possibly use a bit more of the sincerity and heartfelt emotion on display on Islands' underrated 2012 gem A Sleep & A Forgetting. Regardless, this is another solid record from a prolific talent, and any day that offers the chance to dig in to two new Islands records is a good day indeed. (Pledge Music)