Entertainment Magazine

Future Islands’ on the Water [8.0]

Posted on the 03 October 2011 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

future islands on the water 1 FUTURE ISLANDS ON THE WATER [8.0]

Balance – Future Islands

Before the Bridge – Future Islands

Future Islands (@futureislands) have truly gone nautical for their third album On the Water, which features vocal arrangements that make singer Samuel T. Herring sound as though he’s crooning from the shoreline. He may very well be, though, since the entire album was recorded in the historical waterfront house of Andrew S. Sander on the North Carolina shore. Used for the dual purpose of recording studio and home for the trio, the peaceful getaway allowed for their most reflective and deep album to date.

“Before the Bridge”, the highlight of the release, keeps the record’s otherwise ominous overtone in check by making room for uplifting hooks and cheery synths. Following more closely to the overall sound, though, the title track begins with distant, airy sounds as a beat steadily crescendos in with spacey synths, alleviating the song from the impending possibility of monotony.

Romantic-edged tracks seem to be the focus of On the Water, particularly with the pairing of male and female vocals in “The Great Fire” and the lyricism of “Where I Found You”. With a bright synth progression and a slow, sneaking bass line, “Where I Found You” contains very pointed moments for such a wistful ballad. Simplistic lines such as, “You know I loved you, and I still do,” cut straight to the point — raw while maintaining the aching beauty that Future Islands have mastered.

With ebbing waves as the backing track, “Tybee Island” bottles up the ocean and solidifies the album’s beach feel. Featuring orchestral string accents and ambient sounds, the music almost completely drowns out Herring’s haunting, near-chant singing. Though this song and the rest of the album heavily feature synth instrumentation, the fast paced  guitar riffs of “Close to None” beautifully cut across Herring’s words amongst tambourines and organ-style piano. Future Islands are certainly not a one-trick band; their sound ranges from haunting to upbeat dance in the blink of an eye.

With heavy influences from bands such as New Order, and a self-described “post-wave” sound, Future Islands ensure familiarity with their new release but still employ fresh techniques. Using pulsing rhythms, swelling sounds, and hooks that can wake the dead, On the Water is absolutely worthy of attention.


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