Islands - Return to the Sea (10th Anniversary Remaster) (Manque Records)

Add Date: 11/15
Focus Tracks: 4, 1, & 7
FCC: 3
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty, & Triple A

Artist Info: “Who knew how warm the islands would be...” Ten years on, Islands is celebrating the release of their seminal debut album Return to the Sea with a classy anniversary reissue due on November 11. Islands has also announced NYC and LA shows where the album will be played in full, featuring a string section and special guests from the album's heyday. Return to the Sea has been given a light but firm remaster on all formats; pressed to 2x180 gram vinyl at 45rpm, it has never sounded better. The artwork has received a tasteful touch-up, with gatefold, printed inner sleeves, archival photos never before released, and an in-depth essay about the album’s creation by Mr. Diamonds himself. The following excerpts are the first and last paragraphs from that essay:

“On December 31st, 2004, I flew down to Los Angeles from Campbell River, B.C. I was at a puzzling intersection: A few days earlier, my band, the Unicorns, had finally combusted onstage in Houston, Texas. I'd just turned twenty-three. I had thrown all of my possessions on the sidewalk a year prior and now had nowhere to live. I was adrift. My friend Adam Gollner convinced me to come down to LA, where he was writing and researching his first book. The idea was to clear my head and get some sun for two weeks. It ended up raining torrentially every day. After the rain cleared, I invited my former bandmate Jamie Thompson to join me. We spent the next three months in LA plotting our next move, knowing we wanted to continue playing music together after the dissolution of the Unicorns....

...For years, I maintained a distance to this record, and considered overhauling it entirely. After Jamie and I had assembled the band to perform the songs live in the fall of 2005, I wanted to re-record everything with them. When the 10th anniversary of the record’s release started rolling around in the spring of 2016, I strongly considered doing a reimagined remix, losing excess instrumentation and caking my vocals in a more professional gloss. For ages I bristled at the record’s flaws; my squeaky, earnest vocals, drums and guitars that sounded meek when I wanted them to sound heavy, precious lyrics, naive melodies. No, this record isn’t anywhere near perfect, and nor should anything earthly be. I’ve only started to realize that this record’s imperfections are exactly what cradles its meaning and curiosities, its heart and spirit. Here it is again. Back in my arms or under my wings, the waves licking our ankles, ready to head back out again. Don’t forget to lift the locked groove."