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If Islands’ last record, (2021’s Islomania) was a Saturday Night Fever dream, then the follow up–And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs–is the Sunday Morning comedown. “[Islomania] was exuberant and hopeful, and Dolphins is like the grim rejoinder,” songwriter Nick Thorburn says.
“The songs attempt to tap into some of our darker impulses. The grim, unshakeable feeling that we live in hell, that there is no future, that all hope is lost. I wanted to explore those depths and see where it lead me.” Hopelessness aside, the collection of songs represents a big leap forward. With addictive hooks at every possible turn, Dolphins (the 9th record in the catalogue), stands out as quite likely the strongest and most articulate Islands album yet.
Nick Thorburn and band manage to slyly tap into both the pain and the joy of living, often simultaneously, while stripping the music down to its simplest element: a strange sample rubbing up against a bouncing bassline, a snappy kick and snare firing off against a persistent, hooky guitar line. The music itself is settled on the spaces in between: the silences, the spareness. There’s an evocative wooziness within each song; a disorienting disassociation that draws you into its strange world.