11 years Future Islands have been together. 11 years, over a 1000 shows, and now it’s time for album number five. Growing a mass of loyal fans over the past decade, it was the release of fourth album Singles that thrust the band into the limelight, with that David Letterman performance of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ making them viral stars overnight. Now, with an army of new fans, the band have released their fifth record, The Far Field, but this time they had a unique challenge with far more people waiting for Future Islands’ new music than ever before.
The Far Field builds on the breakthroughs of Singles, keeping the winning songwriting blueprints that have enchanted listeners since 2006. With Samuel T. Herring’s agonisingly candid lyrics, undulating synths and careering bass lines, this is a further extension of their signature art-pop sound.
This time, an extra dose of energy has been injected in the form of Michael Lowry’s live drums. Joining the band prior to the viral Letterman performance, his galloping rhythms canter away; fizzing underneath the band’s perfectly crafted pop symphonies. The result is a record brimming with swelling soundscapes and melancholic euphoria. Subtle string and horn arrangements add opulence to the sonic tapestry, with each track being elegantly produced and each instrumental line crafted with purpose. It’s well tempered, from the slow-burning ‘Ran’, which starts softly before accelerating into the hurtling climax, to the slinky ‘Candles’, the record intelligently ebbs and flows. At times the explosive track finales, adorned with racing drums can be exhausting, but more often than not the volatile ends are met with the respite of a gradual building of the next track.
The Far Field is a triumph – it shows Future Islands refusing to buckle under newfound pressure, and instead creating another stellar record to add to their burgeoning catalogue.