Islands have been quietly pulsing along since early 2005, and seem to be the musings of band leader Nick Thorburn, backed by an ever-revolving cast of others. Now on their fourth album, A Sleep & A Forgetting, Islands have evolved through various guises of simple, guitar based indie genres, and their newest effort brings a satisfying, laid back approach to music making, with plenty of traditional instrumentation and classic, relaxed pop sensibilities.

The album begins as it means to continue, with Thorburn's voice calmly crooning over the bed of brushed drums, piano and 50s guitar tones found on 'In A Dream (It Seemed Real)'. The lyrics are a largely metaphorical, vague affair, but the honest delivery and melodies help to buoy lines such as 'Blue, what a funny colour to colour you' and make them into something workable. Occasionally, the tempo and energy suddenly peak, with the fuzzy organ-driven number 'Can't Feel My Face' standing out in particular, and it's these moments of faint dirtiness which help the rest of the album feel all the smoother.

Clocking in at a little over 37 minutes, Islands have played an excellent balancing act; any more, and the simplicity of A Sleep & A Forgetting would start to grate; indeed, repeated listens reveal little below the surface. The sheer single-minded focus to remain firmly within one style on this album feels somewhat uncomfortable compared to the band's previous, looser albums, but just as much is gained as is lost in the experiment.