Label: Thrill Jockey Release date: 21/09/10 Link: Future Islands Myspace Imagine yourself a superhero. Not a real life do-gooder; think ridiculous costumes, overblown moral righteousness, and fantastical back-story. Now imagine your arch nemesis. Think on the dichotomy of hatred, and implied closeness, think of his tortured, twisted soul. Now imagine him, alone in his space station, singing his inner being to the empty room, to the universe, to you. I give you Future Islands, a Baltimore based post-wave band, who outside their villainesque vocals tell stories of break ups, futility, and hope with surprising eloquence, and a certain amount of dancing. Their upcoming EP, Unwritten, is something of a change of pace, consisting of acoustic versions of songs both from the excellent In the Evening Air released earlier this year, and the rest of their back catalogue. Normally driven by keyboards and resounding bass guitar, this is an opportunity to gain a sideways glance at the band behind the sonic. Sure, the wistfulness and the gloom are still present, but while they are normally juxtaposed with electronic beats, here they are allowed to flourish, with delicate piano, and Samuel T. Herring's compelling voice even closer to crooning than usual. This may sound like a bad thing, and it may not be to everyone's taste, but Herring's distinctive voice, and evocative way with words leave the suggestion of a (favourable) comparison with Morrissey. The first three tracks here, are not drastically dissimilar to their originals, but the tweaks open them up somehow, and afford glimpses of lyrics or sections which might otherwise be missed. The closer 'Little Dreamer' however, is a thorough reworking, and is clearly the stand out track; A haunting serenade to love found. Herring's vocals take complete charge and the result is a beautiful song that sounds strangely out of time. It's a weepy one, and there's closure in it after the break ups which define the rest of the disc. Essentially, this is a very good EP, but I do wonder to what extent it stands upon its own, and I know that were I to direct someone new to the band then this wouldn't be where I would tell them to start. While the yearning, and unrest the band does so well is still present here, the surging excitement heard in 'Swept Away' or 'Beach Foam' is absent, and as such this is perhaps not as well rounded as their full length releases. Regardless, this is a great addition to a sizeable back catalogue, and an revealing insight into one of the most exciting bands around at the minute. Photobucket