Future Islands – Singles
This Baltimore-based new wave/synthpop trio are now on their fourth full-length, and have been through nearly as many record labels: this, their 4AD debut, follows releases on Thrill Jockey and Upset The Rhythm. That rootlessness should not, however, be taken to reflect a band unsure of their identity; Singles is an impressively assured record, particularly in terms of its robust, coherent sonic palette, which layers ebbing synth chords and delicate guitar lines over an infectious, driving rhythm section.
They're at their alluring, reflective best on songs like Light House, which manages to be both melancholy and hopelessly catchy. While the taut bass and occasionally cutesy synth lines might bring to mind peers like Metronomy, there’s a Bowie-esque power to Samuel T. Herring’s vocals, which raises Future Islands above most new wave revivalists of recent times. It suggests, too, that this previously transient outfit have found a comfortable home on 4AD. [Sam Wiseman]