Islands

After the bombastic yet oddly leaden feel of last year's Arm's Way, “Switched On” comes rushing out of Vapours' starting gate like a rush of held-in breath, as if even the band itself was wondering what its third release would bring. The answer comes with insistent drums, gorgeous vocal harmonies and an instantly catchy melody complemented by pulsing bass and synths that would be cheesy if they weren't so perfectly pitched. Nearly every track on the album is instantly alluring: head nodding standouts in the Talking Heads intro, the slight afro-pop lean of the title track and the 70's pop keys, ebullient melody, and rhythmic thrust of “Disarming the Car Bomb.” More subtle gems come in the form of the sparse drum machine, plinky keys, and chunky staccato guitars of “No You Don't,” as well as the epic sweep of “Tender Torture.” Some may find the weightier, minor key drama of “Shining” to be a bit overblown, but it also stands as a nice contrast to the light-headed airiness of the rest of the album. A heady mix of relief and excitement, Vapours is quite likely the band's best work to date. With Jemima Pearl, Toro Y Moi. NICHOLAS HALL

Mon., Oct. 19, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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