Baltimore's Future Islands have reached another level of experimentation in their sophomore LP On The Water; the Atlantic. As heard from the studios they eagerly worked in on the coast of North Carolina, they've implemented the sound of the ocean throughout the tracks (clearly on "Typee Island"), creating a lush 80's pop soundtrack fit for the broken hearted (or a sequel to Neverending Story. Well, the way Hollywood's been lately, we're due for a remake and Future Islands should effing score that; frrr sure.) Vocalist Samuel T. Herring, bassist William Cashion, and keyboardist Gerrit Welmers seriously tug at the heartstrings in ten beautiful tracks that blend catchy hooks with moving rhythms.
"Before the Bridge" is emotionally powerful with a depressing chord struck in the keys, and a bit of latin flair incorporated before colliding into an intense rhythm, all the while Herring crooning lyrics of heartbreak,"I can't forget, somehow, for, to forget a love, is to regret."
"The Great Fire" featuring vocals from Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, follows in the trail of heartbreak that "Bridge" had laid out beforehand, urging for another chance with that love you lost. "If you let me be there, again, I'll be still, won't say a word." Keys swell, and Siouxsee-ish bells chime in to add that goth glimmer to a ballad already oozing with true feeling.
"Close To None" is a soothing blend of trippy keys leading into Twin Peaks territory, only to snap swiftly into a fun dance beat and a slight turnaround on the road of heartbreak as the lyrics change direction to anticipation. "And now that I've found you, you're not alone." So it's a happy ending. Overall, it's a journey I'm ready to take again. -Dawn
Check out this serene video for the first single off On the Water, "Before the Bridge."
Friendly People’s debut, self-titled 3-song EP gives a concise taste of a promising young Cambridge, MA-based band. Their jangly indie pop is peppered with hints of Americana, roots rock and folk with vocals that owe a debt to Neil Young. The EP’s clear highlight is its opening track—their namesake song—“Friendly People”. It’s a tremendous, positive track buoyed by a horn section in the bridge which lends a mariachi feel. “A Lot of Work To Do” brings out Harvest-era Neil Young, starting as a plaintive acoustic ditty which builds slowly into a passionate electric number. Closing track, “Branches”, follows the same acoustic-to-electric path. As the song builds, it introduces tribal rhythms that are reminiscent of 80s indie-punk legends, the Volcano Suns. Friendly People are scheduled to record their debut full-length in March. If the Friendly People EP is indicative of what we can expect from this young group’s next batch of tunes it will be a record to keep an eye on later in 2012.--George Dow