Future Islands - As Long As You Are Music Album Reviews

Future Islands - As Long As You Are Music Album Reviews
The Baltimore band goes back to the well for another record of languorous, heart-on-the-sleeve synth-pop that hits all its marks but smacks of diminishing returns.

Since Future Islands entered the national spotlight on live television in 2014 while promoting their fourth album, Singles, frontman Samuel T. Herring has made an entire career out of obsessive, deliberate public vulnerability. In past iterations of Future Islands, Herring’s exploration of heartbreak felt like a bombastic release, a cut umbilical cord. People still talk about it: Singles, released over a decade into their career, was a revelation, one that launched an indie-pop band in their second act into the kind of viral stardom they could never quite follow up. In many ways, it felt like a zenith for indie rock at its most hopeful and naive.
Six years and two records later, Future Islands’ latest album, As Long As You Are, is not so different thematically or even musically from anything they’ve released in the past six years. But it’s not nearly as compelling. That one perfect moment on Letterman’s show feels impossible to repeat; a reminder of how things were. The band’s bare-it-all earnestness no longer evokes such strong emotions. The feelings here are static, rendering the booming new-wave synths and crystalline bass somehow lifeless.

What happened? It’s not that Future Islands lost the ability to write songs so fully realized they make your heart bloom and break. The dreamy “Moonlight” smolders with synthesizers that glisten like violets at night, and the bass is searching and soft. Herring’s baritone is expressive; he sings about putting his whole heart on the table in the hopes that his lover won’t break it. The production is cavernous as ever, plucked from the depths of OMD B-sides and the most blue-eyed of New Order singles. But it sounds like any other Future Islands record from the past decade: The scaffolding is the same, just slightly more polished and streamlined. Even the way Herring delivers these sentiments feels strangely anesthetic. Instead of inviting a moment of quiet introspection as Future Islands songs have in the past, it makes you want to check your email.

All of the parts are there on all of these songs, but when you piece them together something feels amiss. On the twilight ballad “City’s Face,” looking out at a skyline is all it takes to recall someone you’ve lost and the memories you once shared. The sentiment is deeply saccharine, which isn’t necessarily bad, but the song is so gratingly slow and monotonous that it is hard to focus on anything else. The textures feel hollow, lost in the retro-fetishism of a wide-eyed version of the ’80s that made more sense at the beginning of the far more optimistic last decade but now just feels dated. The lyrical content of “For Sure,” is maudlin at best and it plays as disorientingly anthemic. “Carving the wind/Dawn of your eyes/Dust off your smile,” sings Herring over crisp guitars and a barrage of synthesizers that belong in a trailer for a rom-com you’ll never watch.

There is nothing wrong with sticking to a sound. Beach House, like Future Islands, comes from a parallel legacy of Baltimore-based indie-pop bands more interested in refining a signature style than reinventing it. They make essentially the same album every few years, finding subtle ways to challenge themselves, creating music that feels comfortable, consistent, yet still melodramatic. As Long As You Are lacks those subtle—but noticeable—tweaks. The record feels like standing water, Herring is so entrenched in the past it’s hard to tell who he really is on so much of this record. There are, however, moments when the light shines in with the vibrancy of stained glass. On the lovely “Waking,” Herring demands to know his purpose is as synthesizers burn up the sky. The song is a photo from a disposable camera: ephemeral, nostalgic, perfectly tender. There’s a moment when a synthesizer is delicately arpeggiated—you want to live there. It feels like home. But “Waking” is a rare moment on a record that doesn’t say anything new about Future Islands, or about anything else.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Future Islands - As Long As You Are Music Album Reviews Future Islands - As Long As You Are Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Rating: 5

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