4AD – April 7th
Ever since Samuel T Herring chest-thumped and Cossacked his way across the Letterman Show floor, Future Islands’ star has been rising. And the elements that made Singles so irresistible remain on The Far Field – the bouncing, propulsive basslines, sweeping synths, that glorious balance of pop and melodrama.
Yet Herring’s voice remains their greatest instrument. Equal parts evangelical preacher and emotionally vulnerable crooner; the bruised, raw, human quality of his voice and wide eyed wonderment with which he sings, helps bring emotion to topics which have been sung about a million times before.
There’s nothing as instantly overpowering as ‘Seasons’ here but there is a duet with Debbie Harry and tracks like ‘Beauty of the Road’ and ‘Day Glow Fires’ throb with an understated beauty.
This is pop music filtered through a shimmering, melancholic gauze. As Herring sings on the heartfelt ‘Through the Roses,’ “It’s not easy, just being human / And the lights and the smoke and the screens / Don’t make it better.”