Record #257: Future Islands – Singles (2014)

singles.jpgLike most people, my first experience with Future Islands was their stellar appearance on Letterman. And friend, you HAVE to watch that video. It is truly one of the most arresting performances of the last ten years.

But if you think Future Islands is just a band with great single and some killer dance moves (seriously, watch that video), you’re only hurting yourself.

Because Future Islands got away from the stigma of being a band with a great single by writing several of them. And while Singles may not be the most creative name for an album, it reveals its purpose succinctly. There’s no real common thread uniting these tracks besides the fact that they’re all great new wave revival tracks led by charismatic mad genius Samuel T. Herring, whose delivery betrays his drama background. Herring may be the undisputed focus of the live show, but he would have nothing were it not for the stage set by Gerrit Welmers synthesizers and William Cashions basslines (OH! those basslines).

And while it may not have a uniting theme, Singles manages to be cohesive by virtue of playing a bunch of great tracks right after one another. “Sun in the Morning,” “Back in the Tall Grass,” “Song for our Grandfathers,” and “Light House” are just as good as “Seasons Change,” if not quite as immediate. Nevermind the awesome metal scream in the middle of synth ballad “Fall From Grace.” Future Islands is one of the bravest and most exciting acts to breakthrough this year. And after so many awesome singles from disappointing albums, I am thankful.

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