Samuel Herring, the mastermind behind Future Islands, has been on tip of everyone’s tongue ever since his bombastic performance on Letterman where he danced his way into indie music spotlight. But after this momentous act, the question everyone wanted answered was: can their new album meet this blossoming publicity? On March 24th, “Singles” was released, and we were answered with a firm, “kind of?” The album realizes its goals with confidence, but the band’s Letterman performance gained them an audience with thundering expectations.
What this album accomplishes is taking just one step out of the band’s previous comfort zone. Mind you Future Islands’ prior comfort zone had an immense radius, reaching from 80’s pop to modern experimental, and expanding these horizons is enough an accomplishment in itself; but this album boast not just new territory covered, but new sounds skillfully grasped. Bassist, Erick Murillo, fails to disappoint song after song with consistent but active bass-lines that function like the intricate, but delicate heart beat behind each melody. On top of that, over half of the songs on this album explores some part of their genre previously untouched by the band, vocals in “Fall From Grace” that explode from a rumble with no warning, or a stepping synth from “Spirit” that blends their sound into another genre all together.
The part of the album that falls short is the second half of the songs that don’t try anything new. Songs like, “Light House” and “Like the Moon” fail to experiment with their sound, uncharacteristic of the majority of the album. They orbit a simplistic and mundane melody that gets drawn out to nearly five minutes each. Songs like these fail to stand out in such a polished album as “Singles” and will leave the band’s newer fans unimpressed, but this album has only heightened a long-time fan’s interest, and the band’s future music will continue to be awaited, impatiently.
Written by Quinn Hoffman