Arm's Way

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Arm's Way
Studio album by Islands
Released May 20, 2008
Genre Indie
Length 68:06
Label ANTI-[1]
Producer Ryan Hadlock and Islands
Islands chronology
Return to the Sea
Arm's Way
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[2]
Drowned in Sound (9/10)[3]
Pitchfork Media (6.2/10)[4]
PopMatters (6/10)[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]
Spin 4/5 stars[7]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4/5 stars[8]

Arm's Way is the second studio album by Montreal-based Indie rock band, Islands. It was released on May 20, 2008 on CD and download. The album's title is a play on the words "harm's way". The album leaked online on April 11, 2008.[9]

Concept and Production[edit]

Drummer Aaron Harris outlined the album's concept and the band's songwriting approach thus:

We took a different approach with this album in that the music is focused on the band members - there are not any special appearances. Arm's was conceived in Montreal, we wrote the songs in a room with old NOFX and Insane Clown Posse posters on the wall. As a band we put the music together and then singer Nick Thorburn wrote the lyrics.[10]


The musical style of Arm's Way represents a departure from the Graceland-inspired sound of debut album Return to the Sea. Rebecca Raber of Pitchfork writes, "Gone are the guest rappers, the acoustic nuevo-country twang, and the sunny Afro-Caribbean flourishes ... In their place are theatrical string arrangements, layers of silvery, minor-key guitars, and lots of gothy synthesizers."[4] Most lyrics include references to death and violence, themes which are shared with frontman Nick Thorburn's previous project The Unicorns.[7]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Arm" - 5:38
  2. "Pieces of You" - 4:06
  3. "J'aime vous voir quitter" - 3:23
  4. "Abominable Snow" - 4:35
  5. "Creeper" - 3:15
  6. "Kids Don't Know Shit" - 5:11
  7. "Life in Jail" - 5:27
  8. "In the Rushes" - 7:00 (contains a portion of "A Quick One While He's Away" by The Who)
  9. "We Swim" - 5:06
  10. "To a Bond" - 7:47
  11. "I Feel Evil Creeping In" - 5:31
  12. "Vertigo (If It's a Crime)" - 11:01

The full album is streaming on the band's MySpace page.[11]


Produced by Ryan Hadlock and Islands
Engineered by Ryan Hadlock
Assistant Engineering by Mathieu Roberge
Mixed by Rob Schnapf and Doug Boehm
Mix Engineer Assistant: Chris Constable
Mastered by Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone
Songs written by Nick Thorburn
Music arranged by Islands
Drum programming on track 5 by Corn Gangg

Recorded at Mixart in Montreal & Bear Creek in Woodinville, April & May 2007
Mixed at Sonora in LA, September & October 2007
Mastered at Sterling Sound in New York, December 2007

Artwork by Rebecca Bird
Photography by Alexander Wagner
Layout and Title Design by Philip Laslett