The raspy baritone of Samuel T Herring could easily win an award for the most intense voice in independent music and its tortured emotion encircles the third album from Future Islands. The sound of clattering opens the album before ‘On The Water’ begins, a song which demonstrates the heartfelt questioning which makes the band so endearing. ‘Before The Bridge’ is full of calypso funk; soaring synthesizers compete with Herring’s trademark voice as he asks “do you believe in love?”
The romanticism of the album is unavoidable. ‘The Great Fire’ lists everything lost at the end of a relationship and ‘When I Found You’ is a heartbreaker as Herring sings “You know I loved you/and I still do” in a tone of utmost regret so much so, the listener can almost feel the band desperately trying to replicate the memories.
The maturity of the song writing on this album shines through, as song after song is a poignant piece of pop perfection. Dark and brooding but at the same time mournfully hopeful, ‘On The Water’ somehow manages to console the listener while uplifting them. Whereas on previous albums Future Islands have only managed to be ‘interesting’ or ‘different’, this album makes you sit up and take notice as they become intrusive; the lyrics are universally relatable and the riffs linger on long after the song has finished. With some luck these songs will make more people be drawn into the world of Future Islands, and they should. Future Islands are writing pop music like no one else at the moment.
By Jessy Parker