Future Islands, The Far Field: Album Review

Harrison Welsh ’17

This band you may have seen perform on the Letterman Show in 2014 with the lead vocalist Sam Herring jumping around and beating his chest while on the verge of tears the whole time. A typical Future Islands show consists of his hyper-emotional behavior, as displayed on the late-night show. It was certainly no extra act for the television performance. The group’s fourth album Singles, was their breakthrough with critical acclaim and nonstop touring. They are now a well-known and respected indie band.  Those who have indulged in their discography, which started in 2008, now have new music to enjoy from the trio titled The Far Field.

This new project is without a doubt Future Islands with an array of expansive synths, plucky bass lines, and Herring’s unique voice. It shares the same feel as Singles, and On The Water, their two previous albums but The Far Field thrives in the honesty of the lyrics. This is what separates this new album from the previous ones. Often the lyrics could be considered a little too honest; thoughts that people typically keep to their selves, which gives the listener full accessibility into the mind of Sam Herring, the lyricist. This honesty paired with careful and catchy instrumentation collides together and create some incredible songs.

The group is in their prime and is writing the best songs that they have written, on this album. At times the songs can sound similar but the lyrics should be the main focus of the listener rather than the music, it’s what makes this album great. A surprise feature comes on the second to last song “Shadows,” with Debbie Harry from Blondie which is the first and only feature Future Islands has ever attempted. The songs that stick out from the rest include Aladdin, Ran, Through the Roses, and Candles. This is one of the best albums that has been released this year and you should check it out.