Published Mar 21, 2014When Future Islands appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman in early March, their four minutes on camera was a real "aha moment," not just for the millions that had never heard the band before, but for the band themselves. Their performance of "Seasons (Waiting On You)," highlighted by frontman Samuel T. Herring's resplendent choreography, was so special that not only did the internet explode in esteem, so did Letterman himself.
The timing couldn't have been better for the Baltimore trio. After three albums and countless EPs and singles, it feels like the stars have aligned for their fourth album, because Singles is an awakening. Now signed to 4AD, Future Islands have smoothed out the rawness of their "post-wave" and swollen their arrangements to maximize all the potential they've shown over the years.
Herring admitted the album title is a concerted effort to make this an album of singles, and from opener "Seasons" onwards, it appears that the effort paid off. His mesmerizing voice — a concoction of Joe Cocker's loose gruff with the smooth poise of Bryan Ferry — is now the star more than ever. Never have his powerfully emoted statements about existence been so powerful and relatable, be it through a soulful mantra on the pulsating "Spirit" or mimicking a black metal breakdown on the surprising "Fall From Grace."
Singles is an album of big, enriching pop anthems, all of equal rank. It's rare to find an album this coherent and firm in quality. But best of all, a good half of the record will give you plenty of inspiration to channel Herring's sweet dance moves. (4AD/Beggars)