Album Review



by Future Islands

8.5 / 10
26th March 2014

Reviewed by Paul Larsen

Future Island’s Samuel Herring is the antithesis of the classic pop front man. With thinning hair, a slightly dumpy frame and a tendency to rock the pleated pants and tucked in t-shirt look, he’d get sideways looks on the office party dance floor let alone the stages of Austin’ SXSW showcases. But that’s exactly what his band has been doing over the last fortnight. Originally formed in 2006, Future Islands recently switched labels to 4AD to release what some are already considering a pop masterpiece in third record, Singles.

Live, Herring’s passion is unrivalled; convulsing and contorting his body in dance manoeuvres that must surely be outlawed in some countries. What’s even more impressive however, is how he translates this enthusiasm into an audio only format. Breathlessly barking hurried vocal snippets, every sentence feels like its being expelled in bursts – a release valve keeping him from exploding.

Keeping the pressure cooker bubbling, band mates Gerrit Welmers (keys) and William Cashion (bass, guitars) effortlessly create a flawless synth-pop safe place for Herring to explore. The result is equal parts eighties era Bowie meets Roxy Music with a dash of Killers added to keep the sound more recent. Apart from epic single ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, the soaring ‘Doves’ and swaying ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’ rise as peaks amongst the albums ten tracks. Both featuring larger than life choruses contrasted against reserved and at times desperately intimate verses.

Infectious and instantly likeable, Singles grabs you by the pant leg and refuses to let go until the dying moments of the last track. At which point you’ve hit play again without really understanding what’s happened.

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