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The Grog Shop

Future Islands
/ Ed Schrader's Music Beat

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 8:30 PM EDT (7:30 PM Doors)
Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH

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Future Islands believe in true love, you can tell that because their songs speak through our lives. It's as if their music has always been with us, soundtracking every great hope, dawning realization and broken promise. Every fond embrace, each leap of faith. Over the last eight years Baltimore's most quixotic and emotionally involving trio have maintained an admirable level of skill and pace, never slowing down for the corners. 

Returning with their new album Singles, Future Islands have refined their unique sound further still. Having worked with Thrill Jockey and Upset The Rhythm previously, Singlesmarks the start of their new relationship with legendary label 4AD, a more fitting home is hard to imagine. Chris Coady mixed and produced the album, leaving his luminous fingerprint across the album's radiant collection of pulse-grabbers and slow-burners. Packing an ever harder punch, it makes for a deeply resonant listen; an affectionate hand on the shoulder. Singles, the band's fourth full length, is a decidedly polished sounding album, it's glossy like unapologetic pop, silken and lustrous, but check it's pockets for the stockpile of realism.

"Seasons (Waiting On You)" kicks off the record in a decidedly jubilant yet soulful manner, typical of the band's most recent 7"s. It's got all the passionate delivery and exuberance you've come to expect from Future Islands, only there's a new found relaxed distance and maturity at play. "People change, but some people never do" Sam wistfully calls out, fighting the corner for each nagging doubt and irrepressible desire that won't back down. Whilst the song ebbs into hushed violin flurries and we're left considering the grave of love, "Spirit" leaps up, tumbling us over before chasing its descant deeper into the album. Future Islands are perfectionists at teaming up some suitably yearning subject matter with an upbeat musical response and "Spirit", much like "Doves" and "Light House", is a good case in point.

Singles is a bold album of wandering reflections and haunted wonder, Sam's wounded howl on "Fall From Grace" makes sure that much is clear. It's an album that keeps running from the off and keeps running from a restlessness that threatens to consume. As the record concludes in cascading delight with "A Dream Of You And Me" your preconceptions of Future Islands being a romantic band fade. Suddenly you realize they're more enthralled by the notions of romanticism and idealism that never fail to lead all hearts astray. Future Islands have always been there, on the outside looking in. WithSingles they step inside us and start looking out and it's a joy to finally join them.

— Christopher Tipton