Post-punk/new-wave act Future Islands are three-piece band born of Baltimore’s Wham City scene and have visited these shores a couple of times, including a support slot to the Dan Deacon Ensemble in Andrews Lane Theatre last March.
Samuel T.Herring, the lead singer with a distinctive raspy voice, laid the groundwork that night for a sweaty energetic show. In the DIY ethos of Wham City, he was selling copies of their cassette (not CD) in the lobby minutes after their set.
In Evening Air is their second studio album, their first full length release on the Thrill Jockey label. It features similar synth-pop arrangements to other Wham City artists but what sets this band apart is lead singer Herrings’ emotional, sometimes whispering, sometimes wailing voice.
The album opens with a heavy ’80s influence on the high tempo ‘Walking Through That Door’. Herring showcases his vocal dexterity against a tight synth arrangement. The energetic tempo carries through to ‘Long Flight’ and to the first single off the album ‘Tin Man’. This highlight track features steel drums, a strong bass line and an impassioned closing refrain of “I am a tin man”.
The title track slows the pace and gives the listener a short respite before the rousing ‘Swept Inside’, another of the album’s stand out tracks.
‘Vireo’s Eye’ builds the album to a fitting crescendo before ‘As I Fall’ closes it out. A cohesive set of nine tracks which keep a raw punk feel but more rounded than their first album Wave Like Home.
This is an album which deals with heartbreak and lost love with a difference, the contrast of Herrings dark poetic lyrics delivered in his distinctive style, set against the happy swirling pop punk soundtrack.
Future Islands have added a Dublin date to their European tour in October, playing the new Working Men’s Club on October 10th.