The 'future' is now
by Shane Miller
Jun 09, 2010 | 17710 views | 0 0 comments | 829 829 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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In Evening Air is the first full-length release from Baltimore's Future Islands, a three-piece group that manages to sound like much more than the sum of the parts. Their music revolves around the synthesizers and programming of J. Gerrit Welmers and the bass of William Cashion, along with he haunting and enigmatic vocals of Sam Herring, who inhabits the spaces in the music with this unique voice, which is reminiscent of Ian Curtis of Joy Division without the mechanical delivery.

Future Islands makes what they call “Post-Wave” music, bridging the gap between New Wave and Post-Punk, and their unique sound was born out of the departure of their drummer and the band's desire to remain a three-piece rather than search for a replacement.

“We just thought, 'hey we know how to do this, so let's just do this,'” Herring said in a recent phone interview form Chicago, where he was enjoying a little breakfast with the sound of the El train behind him. “We didn't want to add somebody only to have them leave, and then have another excuse for not making music”

Perhaps what draws listeners to Herring's voice and the music of Future Islands is that Herring sings of his own experiences. His lyrics are intensely personal, a revelation he doesn't shy away from. In fact, for the website Ragged Words, Herring broke down the meaning behind every song on Future Islands, many of which are about a difficult breakup he went through.

“I like mystery in music, but I also don't want what I write to be about politics or my opinions, so where is your territory?” explained Herring. “If you're not going to write about the events going on around you, then what are you going to write about? We believe that the personal is universal.”

Herring said In Evening Air is the closest the band has come to capturing their live show. The band has been together in one form or another since 2003, so they've spent plenty of time on stage, but a lot less time in a studio.

“There's studio bands, and there's live bands, and what we know is the live show,” he said. “It's always been the recording that's been the difficult thing for us. This is the first time that I think we have been able to capture in a recording what we do live.”

Herring said he is happy that fans have something they can hold in their hand, but he still wants people to come see the band in person and see firsthand how passionate they are about the music they make. Fans will have a chance to do just that when Future Islands plays Silent Barn in Ridgewood on Saturday, June 12.

“I want people to come see us live,” he said. “ I want them to experience the music for themselves.”

Silent Barn is located at 915 Wyckoff Avenue in Queens. Listen to “In the Fall” by Future Islands at
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