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Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, May 23rd, 2017

Future Islands: The Far Field

Future Islands
The Far Field
(4AD)

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To me, the most striking thing about Future Islands is their vocalist Samuel Herring, whose passionate style invokes 80’s new wavers The Fixx or perhaps a slightly less cinematic Simple Minds. It’s a striking presence for a band whose simple, stark bass lines and sweeping synths bring us a sort of newer wave for the modern world. On The Far Field, Future Islands collaborated with producer John Congleton, who led post-punk band The Paper Chase and went on to work with artists such as St. Vincent and Swans. Congleton lent a polished, refined quality to a sound which has cleaned up just a little and evolved quite a lot, since their 2008 release “Wave Like Home.” In fact, they almost sound like a completely different band, but in a way that’s a testament to their impressive growth. “Ran” has all the makings of a synthpop anthem with its brave, lovestruck art school grad lyrics and epic chorus: “How we lose control, on these roads/How it sings as it goes/Flight of field, driving snow/Knows the cold.” There’s an overwhelming theme of growth, loss, and moving on that weaves itself through the whole album. “Ancient Water” has a beautiful lead synth line and creates a sense of hope as we get to the slower “Candles,” a dreamy ballad reminiscent of Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark. My first observation of this album was that a lot of the songs are similar in tempo and tone…but if you listen to it straight through, it makes sense and holds together very nicely. These days, it’s rare to find an album so cohesive. Overall, I’m really impressed at the direction this band has gone in and how they’ve grown since their earlier releases. If you liked their earlier stuff, I’m honestly not sure if you’ll like this one, because it’s pretty different. However, in my opinion, the production value and the evolution of their songwriting makes it something worth listening to (more than once!).

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Future Islands: The Far Field