Maybe, wonders Islands' Nick Thorburn, he needs a therapist. Instead, he has a new album. His Valentine's Day release, "A Sleep & A Forgetting," is the latest addition to the never-ending library of rock 'n' roll breakup albums. "I miss my own bed and my old life," he sings at the album's mid-point, not leaving much to the imagination.
"A Sleep & A Forgetting" is classic pop at its most fragile. There's fuzzy, garage rock keyboards in "Can't Feel My Face," but the forlorn vocals keep the mood far from celebratory. The ballads are full of space, often marked by a slow-burning and redemptive piano, and tracks such as "No Crying" are folk-pop shaded with vintage soul.
"The idea," Thorburn said of the album. "was to get super stark by the end. I wanted there to be no hope."
The brokenhearted can gather for a record-release party/commiseration gala tonight at the Bootleg Theater. The Canadian-born Thorburn, who's also working on a comic, "This Is Howie Doo," recorded "A Sleep & A Forgetting" in Los Angeles. Getting so personal, he said, wasn't easy.
"I really wrestled with this," he said. "In the early draft of the songs, I kept trying to cloak the meaning in more obtuse metaphors. I had to fight with myself to be as honest as possible. I was in a vulnerable and raw emotional state. It wasn't calculated, like, 'I need to convey this to affect more people.' It was just feeling insincere and fraudulent. I felt like I should be as honest as I could without boring people to death."
With today being Valentine's Day, Pop & Hiss asked Thorburn for something of a lonely-hearts playlist. What follows, essentially, are four songs Thorburn associates with love-gone-bust.
"They're songs that are sort of sacred," he said. "I don't seek them out. These are all songs that are evocative of my feelings of a time when relationships went south."