Future Islands - The Far Field

Future Islands – The Far Field

I fell hard for Future Islands when I heard ‘Seasons (Waiting For You)’ from their last album – 2014’s Singles.  To be more accurate I fell in love when I saw them play the track on Jools Holland – that lush, buxom electronic backdrop and lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s impassioned vocals.  Actually to be more accurate still, I fell for his presentation: dancing like a drunk uncle at a wake, smacking himself in the chest, wagging a finger like a demented preacher.

Music’s funny like that.  I was turned on to the band by someone in a kitchen at a party.  This guy held his phone in front of me and said ‘check this lot out’. And I did. On a phone, on a stream, on vinyl.  And then live, when they played The Academy in September 2016 when I penned a review for Silent Radio.  They kicked the doors in that night.  They had me at hello.  I would listen to Herring read out his year-end accounts, and count it a good night out.  So let’s get down to business.

The Far Field is their fifth long player, out early April.  A quick check on my Spotify reveals the presence of 2011’s Evening Air, On The Water from the same year, and 2014’s Singles – the predecessor to this new album.  And maybe it’s because I listen to Future Islands a lot… and maybe because it was Singles that was home to ‘Seasons’, and that was such a big track for me… but I’ve had the latest album playing on rotation and it hasn’t worked the same magic.  At least not so far.

It’s good, for sure.  William Cashion’s warm throbbing bass is back, upfront in the mix on tracks like ‘Time On Her Side’ and ‘Day Glow Fire’; Gerrit Wilmer’s 1980’s electronic swirls return on tracks like ‘Ancient Water’, maybe the best cut of the lot.  The absence of guitars is still there… or not there… whichever makes more sense.  And they’re still strangely unmissed in the production.  Even Debbie Harry turns up on ‘Shadows’, and that makes sense, in a kind of Hot Tub Time Machine throwback to the 80s that nudges towards the previous high benchmark of Singles.

It’s a fine collection of songs, for sure, but there isn’t a ‘Seasons’ on there… no one stand out track.  Maybe I’m being greedy, maybe it’s good enough as it is.  The Far Field will stay on repeat for a while for sure, as those tracks dig their way down from my ears into my heart.  Which they will, no doubt.

The Far Field is out on April 7.  At that point the band will be touring the UK, playing pretty much everywhere apart from Manchester.  Maybe it’s something I said in my last review.  Soz Sam, you’re not really an estate agent gone wrong… or Gary from accounts after mainlining a speedball and gatecrashing a Canal Street cabaret.  It’s just that … that… I’ve been hanging on you / I’ve been waiting on you…

Release Date 7th April 2017 (4AD Records)

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Simon is a writer, broadcaster and countercultural investigator. Over the last 15 years he has written for everyone from The Guardian to Loaded magazine, presented television for Rapture TV and hosted radio programs for the likes of Galaxy. He has also found time to earn a Masters Degree in Novel Writing and write three books (a collection of journalism, a guidebook to Ibiza and one on financial planning for young people – the most varied publishing career it’s possible to have) and establish and run a PR company, Pad Communications, looking after a range of leisure and lifestyle clients.He currently splits his time between researching his PhD at Leeds University, looking into various countercultural movements; consulting freelance for PR clients; writing for the likes of Marie Claire in Australia, The Big Issue and the Manchester Evening News, where he reviews concerts, theatre and is their Pub & Bar Editor. He is also broadcaster, appearing regularly on Tony Livesey’s late night 5Live show for the BBC, and also for BBC Radio Manchester Gourmet Night food and drink show.Simon’s main focus has been music and travel. His career has included editing Ministry of Sound’s magazine in Ibiza for two summers and also writing two long-running columns for DJmagazine – ”Around The World in 80 Clubs” (which took him everywhere from Beijing to Brazil, Moscow to Marrakech) and “Dispatches From The Wrong Side”. A collection of the latter was published in the UK and US as the book Discombobulated, including tales as varied as gatecrashing Kylie Minogue’s birthday party, getting deported from Russia, having a gun held to his head by celebrity gangster Dave Courtney and going raving in Ibiza with Judith Chalmers. He has recently written for the likes of Red magazine, Hotline, Clash, Tilllate, Shortlist and the Manchester Evening News. Pad Communications has recently consulted for clients as varied as Manchester nightclubs and New Zealand toy companies.On a personal note, Simon is a Londoner who left the capital at the age of 18 and never looked back. He sees himself as a citizen of the global dancefloor having lived in Sydney, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Amsterdam. However his life is now rather more sedentary. After all his adventures he bumped into and subsequently married his highschool sweetheart from their North London Grammar. They now live in Stockport with their four children and four chickens, trying to live the good life. Simon recently turned 40 and is steadfastly refusing to have a midlife crisis – as in, growing a ponytail and buying a shiny red sports car.OK, maybe he’ll buy the sports car…