Remember that funny dancing man off the telly? Well he's back with with 1980s era backing band for another album of emotional synth pop.
'The Far Field' was recorded at the legendary Sunset Studios with John Congleton yet still manages to sound like it was recorded on a state of the art digi-studio in 1985.
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When 'Singles' came out I was officially the loneliest man in the world. Absolutely convinced that Future Islands were the worst band in existence but with the might of the press and the radio pluggers and the internet against you and even close friends and colleagues doubting your convictions it's hard to stay focussed. There were horrible moments where I thought maybe I was wrong? Well not as it turns out as reaction for this latest batch of spindly 80's synth rock fronted by the sound of a man somewhere between a dog throwing up trying to dislodge a squeaky toy and Vic Reeves on an off day.
This is my fucking victory lap ok? Future Islands have proved their uselessness by penning a series of identikit songs that are only rescued from serial blandness by ridiculous lyrical couplets such as "from the dew of the fields, we built this ship for two, it waits for me and you" and "into a melancholic field, the wind will know your name". At least 'Aladdin' is enlivened by trying to find the worst, most over emoted lyric. There's only one bit of the album I partially like and that's the chorus section of 'Ran' where Sam Herring's voice finally bursts out and above the music, finally showcasing the kind of emotion that he suggests at in his performances. But that's it.
His appearance on the Badbadnotgood album proves that in the right setting Herring has a useful voice but it's wasted here singing the same melodies over and over again over the same early 80's synths, the same bass-lines, the same sense of phoning it in. "If the sun don't shine, then the birds won't sing" Herring informs on the lamentable "North Star" consulting his book of the bleeding obvious. If you like the sound they produce (and taken in short isolation it is a nice sound) you are going to be in heaven here. But even their biggest apologists would admit there's a sense of going through the motions here.
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