Future Islands: Singles (4AD) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - PortlandiaFuture Islands



Mar 21, 2014 Future Islands Bookmark and Share

Singles is the kind of step forward a psychedelic indie band could take to bring itself into a bigger spotlight. Future Islands deserves that kind of attention, and though it’s understandable that Samuel Herring’s dramatic growl might not be for everyone, the first line of this album might just change minds. He has one of the most interesting voices in pop music, and it’s not like he holds back here. It’s more focused, a little restrained, and delivered carefully. Singles offers the best example of his Tom Waits-meets-Meat Loaf vocals.

“Seasons (Waiting On You)” is the immediate standout track, with the aforementioned first line“seasons change/and I’ve tried hard just to soften you”delivering a quick punch to the heart. Herring’s deeply heartbroken songwriting continues on tracks like “Sun In the Morning,” which captures the cool depth of Gerrit Welmers’ synths, while the band briefly returns to its electro-hardcore roots on “Fall From Grace.”

While Herring’s voice is possibly the most distinctive element of Future Islands, it’s not the only piece that shows significant leaps on Singles. The songs are tighter and more emotionally constrained, but still make good use of the band’s minimalist approach to warm and lush sounds. The production here is pristine. Producer Chris Coady, who previously worked with Beach House and Grizzly Bear, among others, brings a much-needed clarity to Future Islands. Where previous albums were drowned in a wash of noise, Singles accentuates the band’s softer tones and frames its wild bursts of energy with sharper focus. Singles makes Future Islands more accessible without sacrificing integrity. (www.future-islands.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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