Release Date: May 4, 2010
Genre(s): Pop, Electronic
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Music Critic Score
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One virtue of a legitimate post-punk/post-hardcore musical landscape is the ability to move beyond the deadlocking argument surrounding what constitutes the true sound and lifestyle of those genres. In recent months, Malcolm McLaren passed away, Raw Power reared its Bowie-mixed head again (this time in a “Legacy” edition), Damian Abraham and Buzz Osborne made multiple appearances on Red Eye, and a reformed Earth Crisis hired a Fall Out Boy to play drums. In short, anything goes.
You know how it goes: your friends will go on and on about a certain band, and then eventually wrap up their rant by saying, “You just have to see them live.” This is how I was introduced to Future Islands. But while I was instantly taken by their new long-player In Evening Air, how could the breathtaking vocals of lead man Samuel T. Herring possibly be as affecting in a live setting? My question was answered when I saw Future Islands in a tiny DIY space in Charleston, South Carolina.
Future Islands have described their first full-length for Thrill Jockey, recorded after relocating to Baltimore and falling in with Dan Deacon's Wham City collective, as "post-wave." Taking cues from early Devo and New Order and replacing the dance-pop movement with rich characterization and storytelling, they've found themselves at a pleasant distance from most formal genre comparisons. Their music is playful but steeped in subtle detail, with both emotional heft and a pungent sense of theatricality. Playing together since their college days in North Carolina but not truly finalizing the band until 2006, the trio seems comfortable bouncing ideas off each other while remaining anchored in their individual roles.
MGMT are good, but we want more. What’s an MGMT fan going to do in between listens to the new record? It may be mutton dressed as lamb, but Future Islands' debut is the answer. Opener ‘Walking Through That Door’ captures Bowie-esque Sprechgesang, cemented in quasi-futurist lyrics such as “Science takes too long” or (on 'Tin Man') in declarations like, “I am the Tin Man”.
The summary is usually supposed to be a brief description and perhaps, an insider’s look at the opinion of the writer who wrote the review. And usually, I try not to be too outwardly expressive when writing an embellished, sometimes run-on, sentence that introduces the album to our readers. Honestly though, some albums simply deserve to be praised and heralded for the vast space their music is able to cover; in purely succinct and blunt terms, when there is music this good – just waiting to be heard – it needs to be proudly declared.
Demonstrates their ability to pen no-foolin’ synth-pop tunes. Noel Gardner 2010 Although still quite some distance from household name status, Baltimore trio Future Islands make a notable climb up the independent rock ladder here by releasing their second full-length album via the Thrill Jockey label. Previous records have been on yet smaller indies, reflective of their self-reliant noisemaking in their city’s DIY scene (alongside the likes of Dan Deacon); however, In Evening Air demonstrates their ability to pen no-foolin’ tunes in the medium of fuzzed-out synth-pop.