• Record Label: Anti
  • Release Date: Sep 22, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Showing more than a trace of the bombast of Arm's Way, a couple of songs like 'Drums' and 'Shining' collapse under their own weight and are the only things that keep Vapours from being Islands' best work. Still, this is a welcome return to form for the band.
  2. Vapours benefits from its willingness to engage its detractors, tighten up its muscles, revel in the strengths of its songwriting and show yet another angle to the music of Islands.
  3. Though there is an overall whiff of the 1980s about Vapours, it sidesteps the traps of either sounding trendily vintage or indistinguishable from the rest of today's Reagan-era impostors. It works best, however, to think of the album as a return to "Return to the Sea," only, as its title suggests, in a hazier, less opaque form.
  4. Under The Radar
    Vapours doesn't offer listeners much of anything new. [Fall 2009, p.64]
  5. Each maintains a newfound cool, which must be the result of Islands’ principal dudes realizing that they could live without one another, but that they’re far deadlier songwriters together.
  6. 70
    Call it Nick Diamonds Gets His Groove Back. Former Unicorn Nick Thorburn went a bit dark and dreary on 2008's "Arm's Way," but with Vapours, the transplanted New Yorker relearns his playfulness.
  7. He's created the "good, good pop record" he threatened with "Arm's Way," wisely getting out of his own way and letting the simple but undeniable pleasures of the Motownish title track, the synth-happy '80s pastiche 'Tender Torture' and his latest Brian Wilson homage, 'On Foreigner,' with its massed Beach Boys harmonies, shine through.
  8. This whole album is good, just know that up front.
  9. Vapours dutifully recognizes the playful history of the group and, with the re-addition of drummer Jamie Thompson, is sure to appease followers and win over new listeners.
  10. Where "Arm’s Way" was mostly excess without limit, Vapours is tightly-controlled, yet still roiling beneath the surface.
  11. Vapours gives Thorburn fans what they’ve wanted for a while: a great album of pop bliss from a guy who for too long has avoided delivering just that.
  12. Vapours isn’t just a welcome addition to the band’s collection but it’s a welcoming album filled with tremendously rich highs, blunt and honest lyrics, melodic music and captivating hooks.
  13. Earlier pieces that amused or excited the listener have given way to more approachable sounds constantly on the verge of blending in completely. While seldom bad and almost wholly listenable, Vapours proves to be a bland disappointment from a group of usually creative musicians.

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