Search - Band. :: Islands

Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Limited Edition Japanese "Mini Vinyl" CD, faithfully reproduced using original LP artwork including the inner sleeve. Features most recently mastered audio including bonus tracks where applicable.


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CD Details

All Artists: Band.
Title: Islands
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Capitol
Release Date: 1/25/1994
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Folk Rock, Country Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 077779359127


Album Description
Limited Edition Japanese "Mini Vinyl" CD, faithfully reproduced using original LP artwork including the inner sleeve. Features most recently mastered audio including bonus tracks where applicable.

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CD Reviews

Really lackluster, but it's still The Band
Elliot Knapp | Seattle, Washington United States | 01/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I think the fact that the average rating for this album is 4 stars is a bit of an inflation. Don't get me wrong, I own all their recordings and love The Band just as much as anybody else, but this album, though it has a couple highlights, sounds mostly burnt-out and hollow, making it subpar (for ANY band) and WAY lower quality than we've come to expect from The Band.

I'll start with the negatives, since they mostly outweigh the positives, then move to the album's highlights later (please remember, I'm trying to take off the rose-colored glasses and be realistic about this album). First off, as everyone knows, this collection of songs is, and never was, an album. It's a collection of unreleased studio tracks strung together to fill The Band's contract. Consequently, the songs weren't conceived as part of a cohesive whole and the album has no flow whatsoever. Likewise, the rest of the album reflects this: a lack of attention, care, and soul.

By this point, a lot of Robbie's writing became really tired and forced--listen to "The Saga of Pepote Rouge," and "Let The Night Fall," and you'll see what I mean (spaceships?!). There's not much inspiration, and he seems to be ineffectively trying to follow stock song blueprints that worked on their better albums. The magic that buoyed Northern Lights-Southern Cross, making it one of their strongest records ever, is pretty much completely absent, which is a pity. You can really tell on these songs just how bad Robertson wanted to be done with The Band and move on. The playing is pretty similar. The Band members go through the motions, passing around lead vocals, Garth plays a bunch of instruments (a lot of easy-listening sax this time around, not really to my taste), and Robbie contributes some pretty gnarly guitar, though it's not supported by well-written songs. Although the songs are pleasant enough, there's not really much to get excited about, and it really sounds like the musicians aren't emotionally invested and inspired in making these songs as good as they can be. On a final note, "Knockin' Lost John" reminds us why Robbie didn't and shouldn't have sung on almost all of the Band's releases.

Now on to the album's saving graces, since there are a few. No matter how bland the songs and how uninspired the playing, it's still The Band doing it, which counts for something. Even though much of their signature sound is being replaced with a more late-70's lite-pop production, it's still a bit of a pleasure to hear Rick's, Levon's and Richard's voices. "Georgia On My Mind" is worth the price of admission all by itself. Richard Manuel's voice was getting pretty haggard due to his hard living, but I'll be if it didn't add even more soul and texture to his always sublime vocals--I could listen to the guy sing grocery lists and probably still be entertained. Robertson actually did write a couple decent tunes, like "Christmas Must Be Tonight" (although an arguably better version was already released as a bonus track on the superior Northern Lights - Southern Cross), and "Right As Rain" isn't too bad, though it really doesn't sound like The Band. It's also pretty cool that Rick Danko helped out with the songwriting with "Street Walker" (Robertson always complained that he had to do all the work), even though it's not that great of a song. Unfortunately, though, most of the album's good points are only mildly pleasant, and after it's over you get the feeling you've just listened to something with little substance that The Band cared about just as much as you probably did.

I'll probably get axed by hardcore fans for not giving it 5 stars, but seriously, it's not worth that many by anyone's standards. If Islands deserves 5 stars, how much is Music From Big Pink worth?! I'm glad I own it because of its highlights and because I'm a completist, but not everybody is. Islands certainly isn't essential, but you might get some enjoyment out of it. Just make sure you have everything else first."
Manuel makes this a masterpiece
Ms. Felicia Davis-burden | Staines, UK | 08/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Without the soulful voice of Richard Manuel, this album would be drowning in MOR. But he lifts the music into an indescribably emotional area - Right as Rain, Georgia on my mind particularly. He performed almost the same miracle on Northern Lights, Southern Cross. Maybe Islands contains markedly inferior songs and some lacklustre performances, but it is nowhere near as bad as it has been painted. Listen to Richard...
A very good album
B. Engle | 06/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Even though the album was a pot pouri of songs culled for contractual obligations, this is still a very good album from The Band. I prefer listening to the cd in its entirety over Cahoots. You get the feeling listening to Islands that this is a group who has matured over time. Most of the songs still hold up today. Richard Manuel, especially, turns in some very soulful, even wistful performances such as "Right as Rain" and "Let the Night Fall." The album has a more mellow, polished sound that earlier Band albums, several nice sax solos here... Islands is overall very enjoyable."