Enigmatic bedroom-pop artist rei brown continues to surprise with his second release of this year “Islands” – a follow-up to last month’s quarantine-inspired “Bubble” which marked rei’s first release since late 2018.
A dreamy ballad co-written with Danny Silberstein (Sasha Sloan co-writer) and Evan Voytas, “Islands” sees rei expand on his sound exploring a unique sonic space where bedroom pop meets the 80’s to create a warm, summer song highlighted by the record’s gorgeous lead synth and rei’s airy vocals.
“I was really drawn to how distance can emerge in a relationship, both physically and emotionally. I felt the word ‘Islands’ embodied that perfectly.”
Originally slated as the first single of the year before the surprise release of “Bubble”, “Islands” nevertheless holds a special place as the first song rei wrote from an LA writing trip earlier in the year which was meant to serve as a creative refresher for the project.
“The LA trip was crazy. It was exactly what I had hoped it would be. Meeting new people that I can creatively connect with is something I’ve struggled with in the past. Thankfully, I ended up meeting a ton of creative people and getting into all these inspiring conversations over the course of two weeks which made the writing process so natural.”
rei’s mysterious disappearance following a string of successful self-releases culminating in 2018’s Lovers I & Lovers II EPs left fans wondering when he’d make his return. It was a question rei kept at the top of his mind through a year-long hiatus in 2019.
“Taking some time off really helped me put everything into perspective. I had just put out the ‘Lovers’ EPs and was touring for the first time and coming to terms with the fact that I had moved beyond ‘SoundCloud’ and that this was becoming serious. I spent most of 2019 figuring out what I wanted for rei brown. I took a trip to Europe, I was reading a lot, listening to tons of music and just trying to find inspiration and motivation to take that next step.”
Ironically, the song’s release comes at a time where we all feel like we’re on our own ‘islands’ through the quarantine process. While the song may be about two lovers drifting apart in their relationship, the lyrics touch on themes such as isolation and separation that evoke emotions that have become all too familiar for us all in recent times.