Future Islands | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Future Islands

Future Islands

Tim Saccenti

When: Wed., March 26, 9 p.m. 2014
I stumbled across Baltimore synth-pop group Future Islands the same way lots of other folks did—I saw them play with Dan Deacon. It was the Boston stop of Deacon's 2008 Baltimore Round Robin tour, which had a dozen groups set up in a circle playing one song at a time, and Future Islands played the second night—in Boston at least, that was the show with the danceable bands, and Future Islands' sprightly, chintzy-sounding tunes definitely got my feet moving. Their first album, that year's Wave Like Home, is charmingly scrappy and lo-fi but less approachable than their live set—its middling fidelity makes it sound like a third-generation dub of a home-recorded cassette demo by an 80s DIY new-wave band (though there's no warm tape hiss). They've improved the quality of their recordings over the years, and the detailed, high-definition production of their brand-new fourth album, Singles (4AD), sparkles with up-to-the-minute glitz even when it's retrofied with silly synths and programmed drums. The melody of "Fall From Grace" sounds like it's played on musical drinking glasses, offset by metal-worthy growls from front man Samuel Herring and layers of heavy, melancholy guitar and bass. Future Islands are just as fantastic live today as they were 2008—when they played Letterman a couple weeks ago, Herring bobbed and weaved so much that the camera operators had trouble keeping him in frame. Letterman himself said it best at the end of their performance: "I'll take all of that you got!" —Leor Galil Ed Schrader's Music Beat opens.

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