Arm's Way Album ArtSo I was lying there in Barcelona with my single connection to the outside world shuffling it’s way though new songs, filling the space of the hotel room. That’s when each of the songs on this album, slowly, individually unfolded from the unknown. There was no intent; no effort made to listen to this album in particular, but for whatever reason each song from it demanded my attention and made itself known.

With echoes of Evermore and whispers of the “The Hush Sound” this album has a lot going for it, and if you enjoy either you’ll feel perfectly at home here.

Powering Arm’s Way are frenetic, crunchy, punk-like rhythms. With a crushing, marching beat the songs reach down into your gut and stir your militant side, but not before a lush harmony can come to offer a soothing counterpoint to the violence preceding it. It’s this dichotomy that really stands out and defines this album. It’s simply done so well.

Arm’s Way has an insatiable appetite for different sounds, with a particular phrase never hanging around for long before being discarded and replaced with a fresh one. Though at some points it may feel like you’re holding on for dear life it’s never a rocky ride. This album transitions between styles with degree of skill and artistry that’s pure bliss to listen to.

Driving the sound forwards is the workhorse of this album, the guitar. From the punchy, syncopated marching sections to the more relaxed arpeggios, they provide they basis of the split personalities that each of these songs posses. Always attacking in short bursts, tripping over themselves to try out their next discovery, they give this album a constant sense of urgency.

The vocals on this album are wonderfully measured. Being led along by the sweep of the song, they give the feeling of someone reporting the details of an event as it occurs. Someone absolutely involved in the proceedings… The vocal styles cover a gamut of emotions, grounding you before drawing you into the changing states of the song. The vocals range from the hauntingly melodic to the desperately pleading with pretty much everything in-between.

Islands have managed to take a standard rock setup, added a few violins and with some inspired layering created something that’s really unique. Well worth a listen.

8/10

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