In between composing catchy-as-all-get-out soundtracks for a couple of seasons’ worth of Serial podcasts, Nick Thorburn (aka Nick Diamonds) and Islands were laying down some of the best experimental pop music of their decade-long existence. They had enough material for two albums, each a distinct creation in its own right.
“This is not a double album, and these are not twins,” says the announcement on Islands’ website, describing Taste (officially album 6) as “a demented interpretation of pop music, with a focus on synthesizers and drum machines’, and Should I Remain Here At Sea (album 7) as “…an attempt at rock n’ roll, with live-off-the-floor performances by the foursome. And a tap dancer on one track,” and say it’s the spiritual sequel to Islands’ 2006 debut Return To The Sea.
While there’s much to love and explore across both album’s it’s Taste‘s “No Milk, No Sugar” that’s immediately captured my imagination and love. “No Milk, No Sugar” is Thorburn’s pop nonpareil, heavy with hook and melody, and so effortlessly cool that every other songwriter aspiring to pop music perfection best pack up their gear and take up traffic cone collecting. Part “Heart of Glass”, part “Don’t You Want Me”, and 100% times better than that sounds, “No Milk, No Sugar” is the cream of Islands’ most recent crop, and quite possibly my Song of the Year.
The song’s video, produced by Jash (founded by comedians Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim and Eric, and Reggie Watts), features a bevy of comedians, including Jon Daly, John Early, and Kate Berlant.