Islands Return with New Album 'What Occurs'

Hear "Drown a Fish" from the group's 10th LP now

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 18, 2024

Islands have detailed their 10th studio album. The Nick Thorburn-led group will share What Occurs on June 21.

Following last year's And That's Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs, the 13-track What Occurs was recorded by Islands live off the floor, with the group aiming to capture the spontaneity they have honed over nearly two decades of playing together.

Recorded on Vancouver Island, the LP also marks the first Canada-crafted Islands album since the group's 2006 debut, Return to the Sea.

"For the first time, we went in cold. I brought over two dozen songs into the studio on Vancouver Island. We sat facing one another in the live room, and I played the songs for the band [Evan Gordon, Geordie Gordon, Adam Halferty]. Together we ran through the material, and very quickly, after the songs were under our fingers, we pushed record. Decisions had to be made very quickly."

Of the recording locale, Thorburn adds, "With recording [this record] entirely in my home province of British Columbia, I wanted to tap into my Canadian forebears a little bit. It's subtle, but I wanted to acknowledge the greats that came before me, like Destroyer, Teenage Head, Nash the Slash, Rufus Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and of course Neil [Young], Joni [Mitchell] & Leonard [Cohen]."

A release explains that each track on What Occurs is told from a different voice — a doomscroller, an art thief, a spellbound lover, among others. Alongside today's news, the first voice heard is that of a lovelorn loser on "Drown a Fish," which you can hear in the player below alongside a music video from Pavan Moondi. In the clip, Thorburn spots an old flame at an arcade, and it's game over the moment he pulls out his cellphone to reminisce.

"In my opinion, a compelling story is always full of contradictions, and with 'Drown a Fish,' I was looking to throw my hat in the ring of Pop Songs About Lovelorn Losers Who Couldn't Buy a Clue to Save Their Life," Thorburn offers of the song, which was recorded by the band in a single take. "I set out to write a song that laid bare a series of ironic situations narrated by a delusional idiot because I think that's more interesting than listening to an uplifting anthem about a flawless, self-empowered smartypants."

Pre-order What Occurs.

What Occurs:

1. What Occurs
2. Drown a Fish
3. Tangerine
4. Arachnophobia
5. Move Some More
6. Boll Weevil
7. David Geffen's Jackson Pollock
8. Hang
9. On The Internet
10. Sally Doesn't Work Here Anymore
11. Talk Is Cheap
12. A Void
13. The End

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