Baltimore trio evoke tragedy and joy with their poignant synthpop
Only the most hardened of hearts could resist Baltimore’s Future Islands: the finest indie-synth tearjerkers since Beach House (also from Baltimore – there must be something in the water). Reminiscent of The Killers back when The Killers had an actual soul, on the trio’s fourth and most commercial album to date their bass’n’Korg torch-songs employ everything from Balearic house on ‘A Dream Of You And Me’ to the M83-style nu-gaze of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ in the making of pop music of almost unparalleled poignancy. Among the most powerful tracks are ‘Light House’, which takes New Order’s melancholic girl-pop and remakes it as bittersweet comedy, and ‘Spirit’, where Kraftwerk rub shoulders with Passion Pit. Sam T Herring’s barked, vaudevillian vocal style has long been a deterrent for would-be Future Islands converts, but get past the initial jolt of weirdness and you’ll find in his delivery a soul-puncturing cry from the very frontlines of life, able to evoke both desperate tragedy and skyscraping joy all at once.