Sometimes new music is like a splinter, you know you shouldn’t play with it, but in a grotesque fashion you do, transfixed by the mortality. The same could be said for Future Islands – that strange performance doing the rounds, not wanting to say ‘me too’ about a band that’s been around for over a decade. But as I tweeted today along the lines of ‘I have all the Wild Beasts albums but why didn’t anyone tell me about Future Islands?’. Something interestingly dark there, that voice, soaring operatic in a Wild Beasts or Associates fashion, sometimes 80’s soul croon a la Destroyer or even a little bit Blow Monkeys, but then the death metal growl which for me oddly brings up Viv Stanshall in later Bonzos or solo records, an almost spoken older gruff exposition. Not so much on this song, but on the albums, there are quite a few of those spoken-sung quieter ones.
And yes, THAT performance, which combines all of those via a man who broke into the studio a few seconds before broadcast and is about to be sectioned – certainly gives a different aspect, as this could all too well drop into 80’s King or Associates pastiche. It’s hypnotic.
Well, given my love for stuff that transcends genre or even propriety, of course I love Future Islands…the only thing unsettling about them now is the coffee-table middlebrow love for them, but given I am very late for this particular party, I can’t claim hipster mores. Certainly sonically and lyrically they could be more out there, but there is something quite eerie and dark about them I like, they have something, even if it’s quite undefinable, and as Lamacq on 6Music pointed out it will divide a lot of people. But there’s not been many performances recently that just stop you in your tracks and go ‘WTF WAS THAT?’, and this is one.