Indie favorites Islands have returned with a new song, “(We Like To) Do It With the Lights On,” from their first album in five years, Islomania, set to arrive June 11th on Royal Mountain Records.
“Do It With the Lights On” is a catchy bit of dance-pop led by an irrepressible bass line and a vocal performance from Nick Thorburn that flits between blasé, charming, and exuberant: “Dance to the song, on and on,” he sings, “We do it with the lights on/We like to do it with the lights on/Bang on a gong, on and on/We do it with the lights on.”
The track also arrives with a video, directed by Tim Nackashi, that finds Thorburn performing the song and dancing alongside Gigi Todisco, who also handled the choreography.
In a statement, Thorburn said of “Do It With the Lights On,” “After quitting Islands in 2016, I briefly considered doing writing for others. I came up with the song title as a tossed-off joke. It seemed fitting with the kind of playful innuendo that seems to do well in the pop sphere. Once I started to flesh it out after booting up the band again, I realized it was mine, and for Islands only. I started it with the groove first, and built the melody off the top. This is like most of the songs on this record, which is new for me.”
Islands originally formed in 2005 and released seven albums before splitting in 2016; the group’s final two albums from that run, Should I Remain Here, At Sea? and Taste, were released on the same day in 2016. In the years since, Thorburn dabbled a bit in music — scoring a few films and radio shows, collaborating with El-P, and releasing a 2017 album with the indie supergroup Mr. Heavenly — but otherwise focused on other projects, like creating a TV pilot and graphic novel.
When Thorburn decided to reboot Islands, he linked up with drummer Adam Halferty and guitarist Geordie Gordon, as well as producer Chris Coady, and they began sessions at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. The sessions for Islomania also featured Islands bassist Evan Gordon and Ratatat guitarist Mike Stroud.
2. “(We Like To) Do It With the Lights On”
4. “Closed Captioning”
5. “Set the Fairlight”
6. “A Passionate Age”
7. “Natural Law Party”
8. “Never Let You Down”