Album of the Week: Future Islands, 'The Far Field'


Future Islands, 'The Far Field'
Future Islands, 'The Far Field' (4AD Records)
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For a musician, life on the road is par for the course: You are constantly leaving something behind, and all relationships become long distance — which, of course, makes everything feel like it's constantly just out of reach. This disconnect and distance seeps into the new album, The Far Field, from Baltimore band Future Islands.

In an interview with NME, Future Islands' lead singer Samuel T. Herring calls the band's fifth album "a driving album." That seems to be true in more than one way. There's an anxiety and tension to the bass and synths that kick in and keep pace for the first two-thirds of the album, with Herring's affected singing style pushing its limits, adding intensity and drama to the forward-pulsating beats.

The first song, "Aladdin," fades in as though it's been playing in the background for a while, and the lyrics have you flying out the door. A little past the halfway mark on the album, the songs "Ancient Waters" and "Day Glow Fire" lower the tension and lyrically discuss the necessary need to pause from daily anxiety and selfish needs to just take a breath in nature. After the non-stop driving bass and flittering synth, it's a nice respite.

What follows is a highlight of the album, "Shadows," a duet with Blondie's Debbie Harry. Harry's voice always has a cool, laid-back nature to it, and her contribution to the song balances out Herring's dramatic delivery.

As The Far Field fades to a close on "Black Rose," Herring's lyrics and the music are given more breath, and instead of pushing forward, they fade out … while asking to "stay."

The Far Field is out now on 4AD Records.


Future Islands - official site

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