It's true that a broken heart writes the best music. A relationship ends and the writer has no choice but to expose the raw, insecure feelings in the songs. This album is just that, but the experienced songwriting of Islands' headmaster Nick Thorburn ends up more like a mourning process of a troubadour than a the whine of a romantic reject.

Released on Valentine's Day, this dark and moody record meanders through winding cathartic corridors of regret and disbelief with keys and organs as the soundtrack. The great deep mix veins through the record, and really holds up throughout. All the instruments are dialed with similar tones, and get glued together.

The second track, "This is Not A Song," burns at a slow pace, with clear earnest vocals. This makes way for a stomp of a track, in "Never Go Solo." There is a bit of repetition in the lyrics you'll find as you move through the tracks, but I think it's on purpose, given the subject matter. Basically, rethinking the same thoughts, trying to calculate an answer.

There are some lighter moments, as on the single, "Hallways." A nice New Orleans-y style blues riff on the piano holds up some impressive vocal harmonies. A clear standout, Islands also put together a cool little video for the track. As usual, Thorburn can be a little dramatic at times, and lyrics like "I loved a girl, and I will never love again" with make those in the midst of that feeling to agree, and the rest of us to roll our eyes just a bit. "Oh Maria" is a quiet little standout with a great chorus.

There is a pretty cool hidden track on the vinyl version, "Grey Funnel Line" but you have to skip over the endless ocean sounds. (Oh. With iTunes, you get three bonus tracks. Great.)

Islands' fourth album is the first that made me pay close attention, and as usual, I'll have to revisit the back catalog. In the end, it makes the list for being sad, unique, and improving with each spin.