Montreal’s Wake Island is an exchange between four musicians from Lebanon, the USA and Canada. They came together unexpectedly five years ago, amidst their escapes to Montreal. Since then, they have patiently crafted a sound that captures the immediacy and confusion of adjusting to a new habitat and to each other. While juggling personal endeavours – which included a Ph.D. in cell biology, a venture in film distribution and music studies – they laid down the foundations for a fruitful cultural and musical dialogue. The band’s first album, Fairytales from the Island, was an attempt to reach a common center where it could take place: only in a land of fairy tales did it seem possible for their clashing cultures to coexist. It’s no surprise that the result was as beautiful as it was nervous, chaotic and glorious. Armed with a more unified vision and a new member, they have just released It Takes Time To Be Uncomfortable, their follow-up LP with long-time producer and collaborator Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes, Wolf Parade, Suuns). In this new, provocative collection of songs, King Crimson-esque songwriting is paired with a sound that is inherently modern and fondly informed by eclectic artists such as Grizzly Bear, Wolf Parade and Charles Mingus. To highlight this marriage of sound, the tracks were laid down on Breakglass Studio’s famed Neve console (a 1968 Germanium used to record portions of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti) using a blend of analog and digital techniques. Moving away from the orchestral approach of Fairytales, this new effort is raw, explosive and uncompromisingly honest. Drawing inspiration from endless debates about the state of contemporary societies and the way Eastern and Western cultures interact, the band aims to challenge the way we perceive our modernity in a time when life is becoming unnaturally comfortable. Throughout the album, they explore how comfort shaped the societies in which they individually grew up and how it influenced their personal evolution. In “I Like It”, singer Philippe M sets the tone with a depiction of a submissive society that “took a vow of silence” whereas “The Wind” is a more optimistic ode to compassion that echoes the band’s struggle for mutual understanding. Through their music, Nadim, Derek, Philippe and Evan are a living example that a group of people can grow stronger against all odds and that with open mindedness, trust and a lot of work, the dissonance of culture clash can turn into a harmonious, powerful voice. It’s time to wake up.