Baltimore-based band Future Islands’ latest album, On the Water, begins with what sounds like a sea breeze blowing through a bamboo wind-chime. It seems a perfect sonic introduction, as there is definitely something aqueous about their third full-length record that makes this field-recording a suitable preface to the collection of songs to follow. They ebb and flow like the tides, mixing calm, meditative Eno-esque soundscapes with more synth-driven tunes that crash upon the shore, buoyed by singer Samuel T. Herring’s distinctively plaintive vocals.
While the instrumentation leans towards the electronic, the pieces fit together organically to form a cohesive whole, throbbing with life and drama. Images of bridges, islands, wind and the subtle sounds of the sea permeate the album, as Herring and band extol the virtues of the “truth of waves.” But they haven’t forgotten the pop hooks either, keeping the songs in the listeners’ minds well after the actually record stops, such as on the KCRW favorite, “Before the Bridge.”
The untitled bonus track that concludes the album brings things full-circle, as we are left with the sounds of the water, the air and the earthy chimes. The listener provides the fire, with a passionate appreciation of Future Islands’ remarkable new release.
-- Eric J. Lawrence, KCRW Music Host
On the Water will be available to stream on demand from October3 through November 1, 2011. The album will be released on Tuesday, October 11, 2011.
Artist website: http://future-islands.com
1. On the Water
2. Before the Bridge
3. The Great Fire
5. Where I Found You
6. Give Us the Wind
7. Close to None
9. Tybee Island