Written By: Filip Teovanovic
Originality: (3.0 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4.0 / 5) Lyrics: (3.0 / 5) Production: (4.0 / 5) Average: (3.5 / 5)
I can easily claim that one night changed everything in life and career of Future Islands. I am referring to the appearance in David Letterman’s show, when they performed their biggest hit “Seasons (Waiting On You).” Until that point, the band had released three full length studio albums – Wave Like Home (2008), In Evening Air (2010) and On The Water (2014). Around the time of the performance that exhibited main singer’s quirky dance moves, Future Islands were promoting their fourth album Singles. The video of the fantastic performance instantly went viral. The band enticed people all across the globe, making their past materials more successful than at the time of their actual release. Singles was not different than its predecessors. From the go, Future Islands have been nurturing authentic sound, and Samuel T.Herring was always a personality with charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
The David Letterman Show generated hype and anticipation for their upcoming material. After the success of Singles, such expectations can be a weighty burden for a band. Future Islands were not ensnared. They continued to work in their slow-paced tempo and gave birth to The Far Field, an album that is perfectly in line with their discography when it comes to its content, quality and delicate nuances.
Herring is a perfect front-man, charismatic both in singing style and his conduct. He simply seduces the listener/observer. Still, other two members are essential for the sound of the band. Cathartic, melodic bass-lines of William Cashion are the absolute base of every song; Gerrit Wilmers builds his melodies on synth and programs rhythm machine. Further on, Michael Lowry records live drums in the studio, which adds up to the overall soundscape.
First observation is that this album does not have an obvious standout hit as “Seasons”. That does not mean that the album does not have good songs, rather that it demands more attention than its predecessor. “Ran” is conspicuously the biggest hit that fetches your attention immediately.
“Aladdin”, a song lead by Herrington’s dramatic baritone, is a perfect album opener. Following “North Star” can be perceived as a summer hit in Future Islands’ interpretation of summer hits. My personal favorite is “Shadows”, a duet with legendary Debbie Harry. Cave brings atmospheric sci-fi sound marked by Wilmers’ piano sections, while “Ancient Water” is a potential mid-tempo hit based on signature Future Islands algorithm. John Congletone’s production (The War On Drugs, Franz Ferdinand) made sure that the sound is within the frame of what Future Islands have been creating over the course of almost one decade.
Future Islands have given us a cohesive, decent piece of music. If you liked Singles, there is no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy The Far Field.