Islands – “Drown A Fish”

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Islands – “Drown A Fish”


Ever since Nick Thorburn brought back Islands circa COVID, the band has been mighty prolific. They’ve thus far released two albums this decade, 2021’s Islomania and 2023’s And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs. Now, they’re already back with their third in a three-year span.

What Occurs is coming in June, and its lead single “Drown A Fish” is here for the listening. Thorburn cites the Three O’Clock, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, and Kiwi Jr. as inspirations for the tune, and all of that makes sense, but it most reminds me of Coachella’s favorite band, Blur. “Got you a gift that you don’t want to see,” Thorburn sings, “and now it feels like someone’s crucified me.” Thorburn says it was recorded live in one take:

In my opinion, a compelling story is always full of contradictions, and with “Drown A Fish,” I was looking to throw my hat in the ring of Pop Songs About Lovelorn Losers Who Couldn’t Buy a Clue to Save Their Life. I set out to write a song that laid bare a series of “ironic situations narrated by a delusional idiot,” because I think that’s more interesting than listening to an uplifting anthem about a flawless, self-empowered smartypants. We recorded the song as a quartet (the same lineup since 2013), by sitting together in one room—a tucked away studio on Vancouver Island—and playing the song live, in a single take. Like a rock and roll band should! We sat down in a circle, learned the song, and then immediately pressed record. And that’s what you hear.

It really does have that live-band swagger to it — not a quality I would have associated with Islands in the past, but I dig it. Below, watch director Pavan Moondi’s video for “Drown A Fish.”

01 “What Occurs”
02 “Drown A Fish”
03 “Tangerine”
04 “Arachnophobia”
05 “Move Some More”
06 “Boll Weevil”
07 “David Geffen’s Jackson Pollock”
08 “Hang”
09 “On The Internet”
10 “Sally Doesn’t Work Here Anymore”
11 “Talk Is Cheap”
12 “A Void”
13 “The End”

What Occurs is out 6/21 via ELF. Pre-order it here.

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