Foreign Islands

Foreign Islands

Foreign Islands

Restart Now

Deaf Dumb + Blind Recordings

Foreign Islands. Keyboard-driven, electronic pop artists like (back in the day) OMD and loud-and-fast punk rockers like (back further) The Ramones. Are musicians like these foreign islands to each other? No, not really.

Punk gave birth to the new pop, post-punk and post-post-punk groups like OMD and Pet Shop Boys. And groups have been combining these styles at least as far back as Pop Will Eat Itself, who added a little hip-hop to their intergalactic punk rock.

My point is this: welcoming the debut mini-album by Foreign Islands is not the same thing as welcoming the latest “Latest Sound,” no matter what the New Musical Express set thinks.

In the New Musical Express set, “Latest Sounds” come in about as often as the tides and go out about as frequently too. I don’t give much of a shit about the band’s “point of view,” as hyped on the back of the promo (they don’t like emo, apparently).

And the only “buzz” of theirs I care about is whether they give me a good one or a bad one. In order to really make a mark, at least with me, you’ve got to be able to (in that quaint, broadly-defined and sweeping phrase) “make it funky.”

Well, guess what. Foreign Islands’ Restart Now can and does. It’s a pretty awesome mix of most of the musical genres I’ve mentioned above. The crushed beeps, electronic percussion, pop-stabs of guitar and SSSS basslines (that’s Sometimes Synthetic, Sometimes Stringed) are tight.

Only the complaining and unreflective (in other words, “punk”) vocals by Mark Ryan are a bit of a turnoff. But, after repeated immersion in the waters of the Islands, this comes to matter less.

Ryan’s partner is guitarist and producer Dean Baltulonis. Together, their songs –with the exception of the should-be first single, “That’s How This Goes Down”– are more workable as tracks than accessible as songs, if you see the difference. But tracks like “We Know You Know It,” “Hold Onto Nothing” and “Fine Dining With The Future”* are so much fun to play and hear you’ll get over it.

*The first and last are also featured in very New Order and so-techno-it’s-sci-fi remixes by Filthy Dukes and Boys Noize, respectively.

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