Future Islands – On the Water Future Islands – On the Water

What? Where in the fucking hell did these guys come from? Jesus god would someone get my goddamn secretary on the phone. I don’t care if Pinpoint doesn’t have secretaries and that this is technically a maintenance closet, I need to know before hand when releases like this come out. I need to know a few months ahead of time so I can work myself into a hype laden frenzy and then be slightly disappointed upon its release. Don’t you understand this album completely caught me by surprise and the initial shock has made me seem like a first year music reviewer who is amazed by minor levels of craft? Why don’t I just go out and review some mid level post rock album with a score of 14 out of 10? Fuck. I’m in love with this album and I cant go out and face everyone with these tears in my eyes. I have to be goddamn objective. Jesus Christ, man I don’t care if my desk is a cardboard box, we have to seem professional in these matters.

Charles introduced Future Islands to Pinpoint with his poetic prose meditation on what I think was either the album or a stark raving epiphany. Regardless, Future Islands have been slowly reaching critical attention due to their accessible melodies and a singer with the voice of a drunken deity. Sam Herring’s low crooning provides dimensional depth which transcends synthpop’s disaffected rogue archetype. Future Islands sounds like a parody of a Morrissey/Peter Murphy collaboration but played with sultry excellence. On the Water is Future Island’s third record and second on the Thrill Jockey label. I may be finally waking up to this band but I am glad it happened sometime. On the Water has everything needed for a knockout record; early new wave sensibilities combined with a theatric vampire for lead singer.

Synthpop is inherently dark. Despite the radio saturation and displaced 80’s anthems, the style is rooted in post punk and the onset of gothic rock. Early pioneers included Gary Numan, Ultravox and the very misunderstood Human League. One of the greatest aspects of synthpop (and even the larger New Wave movement) is the combination of pop music combined with bleak lyrical themes. Future Islands continues this tradition with songs devoted to the demise and fraying of light for the onset of darkness. On the Water is the last flicker of light before extinguishing forever.

It is difficult to say, with any certainly, On the Water is darker than Future Islands previous works. 2010’s In The Air shared similar themes and sounds and ultimately worked just as well. On The Water experiments more than previous releases allowing Herrings voice to occupy various situations. Songs possess less of a driving beat and more of a still silence where glowing lights illuminate the darkness. The album is incredibly pleasing and emotionally satisfy. Fuck me, where are those tissues?

Future Islands have a great start in becoming one of the better bands of the year. Their adherence to having visual artist Kymia Nawabi illustrate previous releases gives the band a connected feeling. Future Islands may have came out of nowhere and I may be catching up but On the Water is a damn fine pick for album of the month. Holy shit. Someone get my secretary on the phone, I need to make some calls. Hello?! ANYBODY.


1. On the Water
2. Before the Bridge
3. The Great Fire
4. Open
5. Where I Found You
6. Give Us the Wind
7. Close to None
8. Balance
9. Tybee Island
10. Grease

Future Islands - On the Water, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-10-12T11:51:01-07:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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