It’s a phenomenon most pronounced in acting – just ask Macaulay Culkin – but the notion of being career trapped within the straitjacket of a single performance can be just as damaging for musicians. It’s almost impossible as an illustration of that effect not to talk about Future Island’s 2014 Letterman performance of Seasons (Waiting On You), one on which their lead singer Samuel T. Herring slipped into a shredding uncle after a shot too many persona unfamiliar you suspect even to his own bandmates.
It was a role which transformed the Baltimorean quartet’s fortunes overnight, but the consequences were predictably far reaching. Conscious of a premium slot at 2017’s Coachella, it caused them to rush write and record The Far Field, As Long As You Are‘s predecessor and one which the band are now keen to distance themselves from.
As Long As You Are finds Herring partially relocated to the idyllic Swedish countryside as the result of a relationship which has profoundly affected his life. Thus, even though much of the instrumentation used marks a return to the clean lines of Future Island’s synth pop roots, the implications of what seems to be unconditional love have given rise to songs like Plastic Beach, which deals with body dysmorphia, and Glada, an opening gambit musing on having the freedom to be who you are with you’re with.
Back on this familar musical ground, by extension Future Islands too seem more animated, happier and able to reframe themselves collectively. For Sure, Hit The Coast and Born In A War are all tracks that threaten to make it into immediately into their live set, one which when whatever normal is returns should be able to leave behind any notions of the past’s more out of charachter episodes.
You can read the full review here.