Baltimore’s Future Islands 4AD debut starts all Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’, and ends having throroughly convinced through the integrity of synth. You’ve got to love a band who say ‘this is a synthesiser, and we are not ashamed to have it sound like a synthesiser’.
Album highlights are future worldwide hit – CSS-style – ‘Doves’ – it’s irresistible Kraftwerk funk moving the most jaded of listeners, singer Samuel T. Herring emoting raspily over the synthetic grooves, coming over all Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples in a Belgian stripclub; and at the other end of the rainbow ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’, Future Islands teaching the magnificent Elbow a lesson or two about the concept of the electronic epic: stately emotion wrung from single notes, through proud wires.
Neu!, Portecho and Zachery Allan Starkey are all useful reference points, added to Future Islands DIY aesthetic, reflecting a more conventional indie/post punk approach. Chvrches and Pet Shop Boys, sit up and pay attention: everyone else, put on ‘Doves’ at full volume, get in your nearest means of transport (preferably ship), and let the city or the nature flow from Future Islands straight to you.