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Thursday November 27th 2014

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Ears and Fingers 3/24/14

by Jason Leger

Future Islands-Singles
It has become more obvious as I continuously immerse myself in modern music that there is something missing. I’ve struggled to put my finger on exactly what it is.

There is definitely not a lack of artists, as the market is dubiously saturated. And most every genre is being represented, so I don’t really feel a lack in style. It didn’t really hit me until the third time I was obsessively listening to Future Islands’ new LP, “Singles,” that I wasn’t used to hearing the level of passion that was being exuded by their singer. It’s a passion that isn’t
common in today’s age of Garage Band and auto-tune, where anyone with enough money can be an artist.

Every word that escapes from vocalist Samuel Herring’s mouth is captivating and soulful, bringing to mind a wide range of singers from Morrissey to Meatloaf, and adding weight to the attention he has brought the band in the past few weeks. Most of their buzz has stemmed from their recent performance on Letterman, where Herring danced feverishly and sang with a pain behind his eyes that I haven’t seen in a really long time. The dance was even turned into a great meme. Usually, this kind of Internet attention could be misconstrued as a bad thing, but I think this band is important, so anything that gets people to pay them some attention is good.

“Singles” is an ambitious album full of danceable art-pop that is immediately embraceable and overtly accessible. When I first spun the LP last week, it ended way before I wanted it to. I had to play it four times before I felt OK listening to anything else. It isn’t very often that I come across an album where I feel that every song is strong enough to be a single and stand alone, but I feel that each track could be its own island and still be a stunning statement. However, the song that was landed on as the single, ‘Seasons (Waiting On You),’ is probably the most obvious choice and it’s a song that already means a lot to me, much akin to ‘In The City’ last year and ‘Five Seconds’ in 2012.

I know that we are only three months into 2014, and there are a lot of heavy albums looming on the horizon, as well as strong releases so far from The War on Drugs and Real Estate. But I have no qualms with saying I think this is the most important album of 2014 so far. But you don’t have to take my word for it. “Singles” is out now via 4AD Records.