Assuming a ‘50s soda pop shop aesthetic with an indie attitude, Islands’ (Nick Diamonds’ primary act, now rejoined with original collaborator Jamie Thompson), Vapours feels equal parts tropical (hah!) and retro in the lush arrangements and attention to detail while remaining breezy and unrestrained. In contrast, Diamonds’ tone remains dark and bordering on snide throughout, in a fashion that he’s almost detached from the music around him.
Such is the odd duality of Vapours and Islands as a whole—fun loving pop with a sneering, disinterested frontman creating it. Of course, Islands aren’t breaking new ground in this configuration, but there is a sense that Vapours is held down by it. The hookier moments on an otherwise upbeat album are the post-punk drawling vocals, almost as if the Montreal-based frontman is passing for a Brit.
Eh, he grew up in Vancouver.
Still, the tension between Diamonds and his own material is unsettling and almost out of place were it not for the vocals being buried underneath all the cotton candy arrangements. A strange case.
In A Genre: Fairy Tale