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Their Loss - Our Gain
on 4 June 2010
Beneath the absurdity of Vic Reeves's club-singing persona lay a recognisable tune. Beneath Samuel Herring of Future Islands' sometimes similar impersonation is a depth of unexpected beauty. Where the identically influenced and styled Silk Flowers largely failed on their eponymous offering, Future Islands soar. The distinction is subtle, and not altogether evident.
In Evening Air opens with the anthemic "Walking Through That Door". Subject matter clear - love is lost - it cries in optimistic synth drone and simultaneously plots revenge in dark depths of calculated bass.
That same rising and falling drone that The Horrors put to much use on Primary Colours is also borrowed for the closer "As I Fall", and it is paired with iconic bass borrowed from New Order. Drawn out in interesting directions, Hook and Sumner's synth-driven post-punk is very much the template here, bleeding out over echoing drum machine patterns on "Vireo's Eye", and never more evident than on the "Atmosphere"-like/lite progressions of "Swept Inside".
The pronounced crash of 80s drums give "Inch Of Dust" a heartbeat while gloomy twangs of bass provide lighters-out substance. Steel drum-like synths add a tropical flavour to the stylised warble of the otherwise pouting "Tin Man", which is given strength by a huge depth of slow-time chimes. The title track is little more than an ambient interval, but quickly gives way to the mournful, pained and altogether more rounded tracks "An Apology" and "Long Flight".
Future Islands' gently simmering new-wave electro knows when to go for the throat, and in rubbing shoulders with moody post-punk guitars falls, perhaps unsurprisingly, into a "post-wave" pigeonhole. Just as there are only slight differences in genre at this level, there is a fine line between genius and madness, and Future Islands make no mistakes when stomping all over it.