Future Islands
The Far Field


5.0
classic

Review

by anatelier CONTRIBUTOR (22 Reviews)
April 7th, 2017 | 144 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Letters of hope and love etched along the intricacies of a lace doily.

Residing in a marbled hall with hanging plants and a window overlooking a dark and untamed sea, Samuel Herring etches a love letter along the intricacies of a lace doily. He is entirely enamoured by the prose of life, turning the common plights of the lovelorn into grand, gilded statements - that much is obvious in the way his voice bellows and falters in equal measure, a performance meant for the sun-baked, ancient amphitheatres. But you'll also see him, dressed to the sevens rather than the nines, snaking around the dance-floor and swivelling at the heel, exuding a wistful and wounded sort of machismo.

It might seem like a shtick – his late show wide-eyed growls, shirt tugs, and crab/dad dances have confounded as many as they've captivated - but The Far Field goes a long way in showing that this Future Islands formula is a floor rather a ceiling. Spend some time with any one of their records and you'll recognise the pick bass, the synth pad washouts and the middling drumbeats – that's the floor. But building on top of it is where they thrive, on new-wave balladry and its inherent overwrought expression. This go around, they achieve a whole new level of sumptuous, poetic melodrama. They meet the potential that's been peeking since the very beginning, and in a way that could turn any stony-hearted gargoyle towards the rosy haze of love.

In tackling the sub-topics of love (ie. that which is unrequited, that which is held at distance, that which has waned) as so many are wont to do, The Far Field holds little in the way of stark revelation – what's important is that it presents itself as though it does. “And what's a song without you, when every song I write is about you?” Herring bleeds on lead single 'Ran'. It's a charming line on its own, but there's a suggestion in the proceeding “On these roads / out of love / so it goes” that the 'you' in question is a placeholder for any relationship, hindered by the nomadic nature of a touring band. It's a lyrically simple track, but it's fortified by the crescendo it's wrapped up in, escalating with skittering hi-hats and desperate high notes.

Elsewhere on The Far Field, the lyrics match up to the boldness of each storied peak. Opener 'Aladdin' might prove to be one of the band's greatest efforts yet, showcasing expressive lines through a flow that is virile with intent. Herring speaks of honey and melon-coloured fields, low streams, a cannibal moon and “animals breathing life into June”, the drums steadily grow more urgent and the strings that are introduced provide a little extra majesty, if it were even needed. The track closes on its apex, the indomitable cry of “Our love is real! It's a hand, it's a hold, it's a shield!”, and whether it's a line held aloft in celebration or one to plead, the haughty delivery lends again a sense of leather-bound history penned by the ancients.

These moments of vocal nectar characterise the album, heat-seekers that don't all need singling out because the discerning listener will know them. Beyond them, though, The Far Field is rich with variations on Future Islands' methods. You've 'North Star', a journey from fear to determination within a spry and tropical melody, wholesome without being as hokey as 'Sun in the Morning' from their previous album. 'Shadows' invites Debbie Harry of all people as a guest vocalist, and hers acts as the perfect counterpart to Herring's voice, utilising the same acrobatics and devotion to poetic imagery. 'Through The Roses' is an emotional thank-you letter from Sam to his audience, citing their admiration of him as having numbed his straying thoughts of suicide. “I'm no stronger than you and I'm scared”, he admits, but lands on the motivational mantra of “We can pull through, together”.

And, ultimately, that's what this feels like. The Far Field, a vast expanse laden with fear and trepidation. But we, by Herring's side, are the venturers of odyssey, patrons of poetry, seeking to draw out all of the honey and the dew and the splendour from an uncertain landscape – so that we may rest awhile in that marbled hall with the hanging plants, and gaze upon the lashing waves.



Recent reviews by this author
Sandy's Fourth DementiaJames Joys & Peter Devlin Devil, Repent!
The Mary Onettes PorticoThe Veils Total Depravity
SoftSpot MASSThe Strokes Future Present Past
user ratings (105)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2017


1743 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ran - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlQunle406U

Cave - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGrhubD8VDg

FreddieDelaney31
April 6th 2017


3016 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hell of a review, have convinced me to check this out

Mental pos

Digging: Tyler, the Creator - Scum Fuck Flower Boy

SandwichBubble
April 6th 2017


2783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

MMMM can't wait to listen to this. Too many good albums coming out this spring/summer

Digging: Spider King - Shot To Pieces

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2017


5640 Comments


Ran is a Jam, hyped to check this.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2017


15647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i like hemlock ernst i may give this a try

Digging: Greeley Estates - Calling All The Hopeless

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2017


8327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

came around hard to Singles, excited to hear this is just as good if not better

Digging: Nav - Perfect Timing

JWT155
April 6th 2017


13470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My body is ready for this record. Still can't believe their last record still doesn't have a review. Excellent review!

JWT155
April 6th 2017


13470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Although, isn't it sowing's job to write early in the year 5 reviews ; )

theBoneyKing
April 6th 2017


10259 Comments


Oh damn a 5. Great review anat.

Only thing I've heard from these guys is that one song pitchfork jizzed their pants over a couple years ago. Might give this a go.

Digging: Radiohead - OKNOTOK 1997-2017

JWT155
April 6th 2017


13470 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think you'd dig them boney, they're catchy AF, Ran is one of my top 3 singles of the year so far, maybe even top 2.

klap
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2017


11646 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell ya this is really good. both the review and the record

Digging: Marika Hackman - I'm Not Your Man

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2017


1743 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks y'all

this was gonna be a 4.5 but when you know you know

Chortles
April 7th 2017


20370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh nice, i had no idea these guys were putting out something new. kool rev

anatelier
Contributing Reviewer
April 7th 2017


1743 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I am here to spread the word cos it's definitely their best yet

BlushfulHippocrene
April 7th 2017


1544 Comments


Fantastic review, though I've never liked them as much as I want to. Will for sure give this a listen, however.

Digging: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal - Raw and Declawed

NorthernSkylark
April 7th 2017


8552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice! I'll give it a go.

Digging: Feist - Pleasure

Almandjoy
April 7th 2017


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A FIVE? I'm gonna have to check this out now!! This better live up to the hype

Great review too!

Ebola
April 7th 2017


2709 Comments


Perhaps a tad overwrought, but very good review nonetheless. Definitely gonna need to check this out.

Digging: Make Them Suffer - Worlds Apart

SandwichBubble
April 7th 2017


2783 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good rating chart



http://i.imgur.com/y6jnb6p.png

houseofleaves
April 7th 2017


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm really enjoying this... I've heard it three times today, so I think I will be bumping my rating sometime in the near future.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy