Music Video for “This Is Not A Song”
It is pretty clear that Nick Thorburn has legitimately carved his name into the indie world. Whether you were first introduced to him through Human Highway, Mister Heavenly, Islands or an interview where Michael Cera talked about following The Unicorns on tour (my experience), you’d have to agree that Thorburn has a distinctive ability in song writing. Perhaps this is where I should make a disclaimer because I have a severe crush on Thorburn and the review of Islands A Sleep & A Forgetting will most likely be biased.
“This album is far more personal than any I’ve made before. I left New York after the end of a relationship and came to Los Angeles. There was a piano where I was staying and that’s where I wrote these songs. This record deals with loss, with memory and forgetting and with dreaming. I started writing it on Valentine’s Day and it’s coming out on Valentine’s Day.”- Nick Thorburn
2011 was a crazy year for Thorburn’, musically and personally. Last winter, Nick Thorburn revealed a new set of tour dates and the details of his latest project, A Sleep & A Forgetting. One of the first preconceived judgements came from the dark cover art. The single black rose on a black background cries out sadness and isolation. Diving into the album, you can grasp this tender, vulnerable feeling from the opener “In A Dream (It Seems Real)”. With melodic piano structures, Nick does not graduate further than a few other instruments throughout the entire collection. This striped sound is incomparable to the Islands’ previous album, Vapours.
“In A Dream (It Seems Real)” is the initial track that takes us away, on a surreal journey to Thorburn’s past relationship. Each song after that is an infiltration of his post break up sentiments. There are expressions of denial in “No Crying” to “Can’t Feel My Face”, where Thorburn lists all the things he is lacking. In a short segment of “Can’t Feel My Face”, Thorburn declares “I miss my wife/I miss home/ I miss my own bed”. Every feeling you can possibly encounter in a lost scenario is perceived in A Sleep & A Forgetting. Thorburn ends this intimate session with “Same Thing”. Here, he verbalizes in a melancholic serenade of “I loved a girl and I will never love again”.
Although A Sleep & A Forgetting may seem like a depressing collection of lyrical thoughts, there is a charming pull from Thorburn’s confessions. Musically, Thorburn and the two others in Islands have compiled a lot folk, a little jazz and a sprinkle of ragtime into a 37 minute record. The album contains eleven songs and altogether, it is a soulful resonance of your half hour with an interest of indie pop. There are no overdubs in A Sleep & A Forgetting, which makes this an even greater snug album of all live recordings. It’s quite beautiful. Below is a stream of A Sleep & A Forgetting via Anti Records soundcloud. Listen to it, buy it and give us your thoughts. We’d love to see if you are turned on or off by the latest from Islands.