Future Islands became something of an internet sensation in 2014 thanks to lead singer Samuel T Herring’s dad dancing on The David Letterman Show. After that night, the band saw their fan base multiply, and now they’ve dropped their fifth album The Far Field.
Opener Aladdin continues from A Dream Of You And Me, the final song on last album Singles, with its familiar synth line and funky groove, before Time On Her Side spotlights William Cashion’s notoriously crisp bass lines. Herring’s unmistakable vocal cuts through in lead single Ran, harmonising and layering his voice while still delivering emotionally-charged lyrics such as “What’s a song without you? When every song I write is about you”.
Beauty Of The Road delves into techno-pop, while Cave drives among atmospheric synths and crashing sounds, which reach an emotional and melodic limit in Through The Roses: one of the album’s many highlights.
The trio attempt to break out of their comfort zone on Candles with dub reggae nuances, yet end up with a track that feels forced and unnatural. Blondie singer Debbie Harry is guest vocalist on duet Shadows, another album highlight; her vocals accompany Herring’s perfectly. Black Rose revolves around sweet synthesiser plucks by keyboardist Gerrit Welmers, creating a strong closing.
Overall, Future Islands mark a return to the warm sounds of their earlier work – The Far Field has all the consistency of Singles, but shows a band still searching within themselves for truth and self-discovery. Their performances may be polarising, but The Far Field is far from it.
Edited by Ginny Wong