If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing Future Islands live you know this all too well.
Maybe this too?
If you’ve just so happened to make it out to one of their shows, you understand first-hand what I mean when I write these words:
Samuel T. Herring
is a god damn entertainer.
The lead vocalist is a man of many talents and thank god for that. When the auditory angel’s not delivering his vivacious vocals he can be seen performing a number of other acts on stage, anything from doing fucking splits or peering into your soul.
Think for a moment of the times you’ve gone to a show and there’s been little to no stage presence. You were most likely pretty bored.
Thankfully, Future Islands embodies all that a lead’s vibrant stage presence can be and through indie rock music for fuck’s sake.
Five albums in and they still manage to channel an immersible amount of energy throughout their work.
As Herring agonizes over failed relationships, two on the record, he sounds utterly defeated on the group’s latest, The Far Field. But the sorrow Herring speaks of makes its waves in a transformative fashion. Wallowing in the sadness of heartbreak perhaps on the first half of the record, and picking up the pieces if you will, on the second.
“The fear that keeps me going and going and going/Is the same fear that brings me to my knees.” Herring sings on the second track in, “Ran,” “What’s a song without you/When every song I write is about you?”
While Herring grieves across the better half of the record nowhere is it more prevalent than on “Through the Roses,” the track he’s candidly referred to as “a suicide song,” written on a long drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“It just hit me in that moment,” he said in an interview with Mojo, “this great sense of loneliness.
“I’d reached all my goals
but all I found was the same loneliness.”
It’s clear Herring is more of a performer than we may ever be capable of understanding, but his sentiments on loneliness are something we may all relate to.
“I’m scared,” he sings. “That I can’t pull through.”
It’s apparent that Herring has always lucidly understood the band’s appeal—that his unabashed exuberance allows Future Islands’ audiences, in turn, to let out their repressed emotions, too.
“Through the Roses” is the purest, most honest piece from the group to date. A stylistically beautiful song, and incredible outpouring from the lead singer. “But we can pull through together, together, together,” he insists at the song’s end, and goddamnit you believe him.
The Far Field picks up immediately following “Through the Roses” and for the remainder of the record, as if Herring were putting his best foot forward in moving on. Future Islands sails out into uncharted territory on the record’s second half.
In “Candles” an almost comically seductive Mac Demarco-esque yacht rock number, Herring serves up one of his quintessentially moony tributes. And it’s perfect.
“Baby I know,” he croons, “a little candle like you don’t deserve the hurt you’re going through.”
While it’s sort of a shame that Future Islands didn’t fill The Far Field with 12 songs as gorgeous and immediate as “Candles”, there’s tunes like “Shadows”. With the sadness in the record behind its listeners, Herring’s duet with Debbie Harry on “Shadows” is all the more wonderful.
It’s a tune full of promise, making the record’s hopefulness in growth seem all the more real.
“These old shadows parade you like a fool!” exclaims Harry, as she works to pull Herring back into darkness.
But into the light, it seems Future Islands has gone and is hopefully there to stay.
LISTEN TO THE FAR FIELD:
THE FAR FIELD ARTWORK:
Catch Future Islands on their extensive spring and summer world tour.
FUTURE ISLANDS 2017 TOUR DATES:
05/05 – Murica, ES @ Wam Festival
05/06 – Barcelona, ES @ Razzmatazz
05/09 – Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
05/10 – Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
05/12-14 – Arcosanti, AZ @ Form Arcosanti Festival
05/25 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s
05/26 – Ithaca, NY @ State Theatre
05/27 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
05/28 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
05/29 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
05/30 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theatre
06/01 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
06/02 – Ponte Vedra, FL @ Ponte Vedra Social Hall
06/03 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl
06/05 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant
06/06 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera
06/07 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
06/09 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room
06/08-11 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/16 – Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom
06/17 – Buffalo, NY @ Alternative Buffalo’s Kerfuffle 2017
06/21-25 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival
06/22 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City
06/23-25 – Scheeßel, DE @ Hurricane Festival
06/24-07/01 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
06/27 – Cologne, DE @ Live Music Hall
06/30 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/01 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange
07/03 – Limerick, IE @ Dolans Pub
07/04 – Cork, IE @ Opera House
07/05 – Galway, IE @ The Black Box
07/06 – Dublin, IE @ Iveagh Gardens
07/06-08 – Trencin, SK @ Pohoda Festival
07/21-23 – Byron Bay, AU @ Splendor in the Grass
07/28-30 – New York, NY @ Panorama Music Festival
08/11-13 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Festival
08/16-19 – Tabuao, PT @ Paredes de Coura Festival
08/17-20 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
08/17-29 – St. Malo, FR @ La Route du Rock
08/18-20 – Biddinghuizen, NL @ Lowlands Festival
09/05 – Richmond, VA @ The National
09/11 – Baton Rouge, LA @ The Varsity
09/12 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
09/13 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory
09/15 – Sante Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
09/17 – San Diego, CA @ Open Air Theatre *
09/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
09/22 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
09/23 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
09/27 – Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
09/28 – Jackson, WY @ Pink Garter Theatre
09/29 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore
09/30 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room Outside *
10/01 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
10/02 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre
10/05 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/06 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
10/07 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis Theatre
10/09 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
10/26 – Vilnius, LT @ Compensa
10/27 – Tallin, EE @ Rocke Café
10/29 – Helsinki, FI @ Circus
10/31 – Stockholm, SE @ Münchenbryggeriet
11/01 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
11/02 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
11/04 – Oslo, NO @ Sentrum Scene
11/06 – Hamburg, DE @ Docks
11/08 – München, DE @ Theaterfabrik
11/09 – Luxembourg, LU @ Den Atelier
11/10 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
11/13 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/14 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/16 – Strasbourg, FR @ La Laiterie
11/17 – Feyzin, FR @ L’Epicerie Moderne
11/18 – Euralille, FR @ L’Aeronef
* = w/ Explosions in the Sky