Greeting and salutations, fellow Future Islands fans! I come bearing glad tidings of epic proportions! After an almost interminable hiatus, our favourite Baltimore-based indie pop trio are back with a whirling dervish of an album that’s as exquisitely engaging as it is zestfully propulsive. To co-opt a particularly memorable analogy from the excellent second season of Billions, this record launches itself at you with all the wild and unpredictable abandon of a pig on LSD (that’s a good thing, BTW). From the jump, charismatic frontman Sam Herring – his sonorous timbre festooned in rich splendour – invites us to shimmy, shake and swoon to our heart’s content. He stirs that raspy croon deep into the band’s eclectic blend of organic flavours with a chef-like aplomb, to concoct a sticky jambalaya of mellifluous tunes bursting with delectable harmonies and intensely evocative lyrics.
But then, what else would you expect from a guy who – under the rap moniker Hemlock Ernst – cooks up boom-bap goodness with prolific beatsmiths like Madlib and Clams Casino in his spare time? Hand to God, whiteboy’s got flow! Think I’m playing? Type ‘Trouble Knows Me’ into Google when you’ve got a couple minutes to spare. You’re welcome, in advance. On The Far Fields, Herring – his jazz-flecked cadence kept snugly wrapped in a thick blanket of melancholic nostalgia – deftly guides us up the mist-shrouded zeniths and down the plunging nadirs of twelve impeccably crafted power-pop soundscapes with the sure-footed pace of a blizzard-seasoned sherpa. No lie, by the time he and Debbie Harry – her rich, smoky contralto still a force to be reckoned with – are trading wistfully cathartic verses on Shadows, their raging cascade of a duet, you’ll be peaking on pure euphoria like you’ve just gulped down a lungful of crisp alpine air!
But enough spiel! Get stuck in; you know you want to…