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November 2019
Review

Future Islands - The Far Field

Passion is all over these songs.
Future Islands - The Far Field
Published: 8:53 am, April 04, 2017
Passion is all over these songs.

Label: 4AD
Released: 7th April 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Future Islands' last album, 2014’s ‘Singles’, propelled them into pop’s big leagues. Aided by that now iconic Letterman performance it allowed the band’s personality, primarily that of ultra-magnetic singer Samuel T Herring, to come to the fore. So, how do you follow that? Well, Future Islands have attached a super-charged rocket to ‘Singles'’ pop charts and blasted themselves further into the stratosphere on ‘The Far Field’.

The formula remains broadly the same as ‘Singles’, but the noticeable and welcome addition of live drums by Michael Lowry gives these songs a wonderfully driving energy which complements the bursting passion of Herring’s voice. Coupled with esteemed producer John Congleton’s pristine production, the sound is sublime.

"Passion" is the best word to describe Future Islands, and it’s all over these songs. Lead single ‘Ran’ is a gloriously evocative ode to life on the road that represents peak Future Islands. While the rest of the songs show how they excel at taking everyday emotions and feelings and turn them into romantic dramas and poetic masterpieces.

The famed vocal theatrics of Herring are more restrained but it makes it even more startling and powerful when he really puts some chest beating oomph into it like on the propulsive ‘Cave’.

‘The Far Field’ is an album all about love, relationships and longing. It’s fitting then that its finest moment comes from a duet with Blondie’s Debbie Harry, a stunning curveball nestled as the penultimate track. ‘Shadows’ is the beating heart of this record’s underlying yearning desire. Harry’s instantly recognisable voice is an excellent fit for Herring’s and the two mesh in perfect harmony.

It takes a lot for a band to finally break through and Future Islands certainly paid their dues. After celebrating their tenth anniversary last year the band have marked the first step on their next phase. Having captured a new audience, they’re now intent on enrapturing the whole world. Martyn Young

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