The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Andrew McMillen

Fu­ture Is­lands

4AD/Re­mote Con­trol

FOUR al­bums and eight years into its ca­reer, this Bal­ti­more pop trio has hit its stride with Sin­gles, a 10-song collection that all but lives up to its ti­tle. The band’s pre­vi­ous re­lease, 2011’s On the

Wa­ter, was mem­o­rable but lacked the con­sis­tent hooks that set Sin­gles apart. The songs are as­sem­bled with the usual sus­pects on key­boards, bass, gui­tar and drums, but vo­cal­ist Sam Her­ring dom­i­nates. Even af­ter cy­cling through ev­ery syn­onym for “unique”, I fall short of cap­tur­ing what Her­ring of­fers. He possesses an im­prob­a­bly wide vo­cal range, from sweet high melodies to a sur­pris­ing death-metal growl that makes a brief ap­pear­ance in Fall from Grace, but he has the emo­tive weight to sell the lovelorn con­cepts that take cen­tre-stage. There’s no room for sec­ond-guess­ing his sin­cer­ity. Her­ring is as com­pelling a front­man as I’ve heard in any genre, let alone in the pleas­ant pop mu­sic with which Fu­ture Is­lands con­cerns it­self. This point of dif­fer­ence is worth the price of ad­mis­sion, yet the leap for­ward in song­writ­ing that Wil­liam Cash­ion (bass, gui­tar) and Ger­rit Welmers (key­boards, gui­tar, pro­gram­ming) have as­sem­bled around Her­ring is re­mark­able. Stand­out mo­ments in­clude the driv­ing gui­tars on al­bum opener Sea­sons

(Wait­ing on You), the sigh­ing synth sounds in Doves and the poignant mood that im­bues A Song for Our Grand­fa­thers.

It’s to the trio’s credit that all 10 tracks are

uni­formly strong. Nam­ing an al­bum Sin­gles takes no small amount of self-con­fi­dence, yet in this case it’s well-earned.

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