Out: 25th January 2010 Label: Labrador Records Buy: Rough Trade For me, Sweden is famed for three things, flat pack furniture, implausibly blonde inhabitants and exporting catchy pop tunes. With Islands, Jönköping's very own The Mary Onettes feature two of the three aforementioned attributes. OK, so there is a palpable lack of self assembly and as a band they are perhaps not THAT blonde, but there is no disputing the catchiness of the tunage on this record. From the off, there are catchy riffs aplenty for you to get your 80s fix from. Now, before you go running off thinking this is just another 80s synth-pop makeover record, heed this, whilst Islands does sound 80s, it sounds authentically 80s. Whereas The Killers, La Roux and all their cohorts are churning out dire 80s tinged drivel that sounds like Spandeau Ballet mashed through Garage Band, The Mary Onettes have put together an album that sounds like it could have been produced by Factory Records at its peak and blasted out at silly volumes to e-d up ravers in the Hacienda. Instead of Factory though, Islands, The Mary Onettes' second album, is being released on Sweden's premier indie label Labrador Records (the purveyor of the world's finest pop records). From the off and right the way throughout the album, the band wear their influences on their sleeves. There are a few tracks here that could comfortably sit within a Cure 'Best Of' collection. Mr Ekström's vocal performance is, at times, nothing short of note perfect Robert Smith, whilst the hooks that drive the record are straight out of The Cure circa. 1987. Despite the catchiness of many of the tracks on show here - the guitar and synth combos are impressive enough - there is something a little lacking from the album as a whole. Islands bounces along happily enough without ever consistently hitting the highs that the band seem to have the potential to deliver in patches. In terms of standouts there are a few, album opener 'Puzzles' is instantly accessible and as good as anything on show here with its synth-laden beats that will have you bouncing about your bedroom and singing along to the chorus on first spin. Then there's 'Symmetry' which shows the other side of the band. It's a much slower-burner that eventually brings back a bit of action and energy to the record following a noticable lull of a few tracks that are, for lack of a better word, 'meh' (see 'Cry For Love'). Watch the official video for 'Puzzles' here: All in all though, Islands is a decent, if slightly patchy affair. Like your music laden with synth-heavy hooks? Like a bit of 80s music a la Robert Smith? Then there's something, if not everything on here that you'll find interesting. 6.5/10 Download: 'Puzzles', 'Symmetry' Skip: 'Cry For Love' Listen to: Dare File with: The Cure, New Order, Shout Out Louds, Echo and The Bunny Men