The very bright future has arrived. After evolving over eight years and three albums, Future Islands are poised to make their move and capture our hearts and souls. Their time is now.
Future Islands are a synth-pop trio: Vocalist Samuel T. Herring, keyboardist and programmer J. Gerrit Welmers, and bassist William Cashion. They all hail from North Carolina and were close friends long before they became a band. Today they call Baltimore home.
Singles is their fourth album, and it pulls together all the strengths of their earlier work. From the opening song, “Seasons (Waiting On You),” [download: right-click and save as] Future Islands proves that heartfelt emotion, real life experiences, and love – both lost and found – can make you move.
The heart and soul of the band is Herring, the charismatic frontman who takes Welmers’ synthesized melodies and beats, plus Cashion’s bottom end, and adds a molten torrent of passion and emotion. While he looks like a neat and tidy Jack Black, Herring’s voice is a powerful instrument that ranges from a smooth croon to a guttural, snarling, death-metal growl. These qualities appear and disappear, even within one song — Herring channels voices like Tom Jones, Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals), Rick Astley and even Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. (FYI, nowhere are Herring’s vocal histrionics better displayed than on “Fall From Grace.”)
On stage, Herring dances, sways and prowls, pounding his chest and even smacking his face as he feels and experiences every word he sings, every note the band plays. It’s this human element, combined with pulsing beats and atmospheric melodies, that makes up what Future Islands is all about.
After experiencing Singles, one can’t help but wonder what new treasures lay ahead on islands that await us in the future.
Bonus: Fabulous Samuel T. Herring Dance move GIF, by Adam Kissick for NPR.