I'm out of lame jokes or excuses as to why I'm still doing this shit in late Spring, practically the middle of the year - it's beyond me. But I'll tell ye one thing that might be relevant: I clearly remember Mr Landers standing over my shoulder in third class, watching me blunderingly try to lace a football boot, and him saying "why must you do everything arseways?".
#15 Future Islands - On the Water
On the Water isn't typical of the sort of stuff I mostly listened to last year but, while listening to the review copy I had from state magazine, I became absorbed by it and by its earnest theatrics.
I like Sam Herring's weird voice (which is the huge deal-breaker around this band, I've noticed). He sings in a variety of strange registers, with his vocals quickly oozing up a couple of octaves (as if squeezed) into these strangulated, almost character-inhabiting yelps of exaggerated emotion; not unlike Morrisey in technique. It adds to what Future Islands are all about - magnified, almost operatic, heartbreak.
And the subject matter is the other thing I like about On the Water. There's a sort of toxic core notion to it, namely that there's some desperate worth in clinging to a lost past. He sings this sentiment ("look back, look back/hold on to the last") over a supple web of synthesized chords in 'Where I Found You', On the Water's central song, and it sounds more-or-less like the album's (indeed Future Islands') manifesto. I'm sure most therapists these days would tell you that Herring is giving pretty questionable life advice here - cling to the past, don't let shit go, desperately rake over the dead ashes of some busted up romance... It's counter intuitive to received wisdom, which is all about letting go, so there is a sad romanticism to it. Great Gatsby shit.
What else? Umm the album is very pristine sounding, all transparent clinky synths and clean'n'robust Peter Hook bass shapes, with the odd exhaled accordion chord thrown in for added poignancy (trademark: Twilight Sad). Which is a pretty suitable backdrop for Herring's past-obsessed, shattered lover persona.
Also: I never knew how big Future Islands were in Dublin until I noticed via twitter how desperately people were looking for tickets for their latest gig. Wow, they strike a chord eh? Anyway, like many, I'm re-reading Dubliners at the moment for One City One Book, and the famous last story The Dead is about, among lots of other stuff, how the Irish are preoccupied with their dead past.
With that tenuous link between James Joyce and Future Islands' appeal in Ireland, I'll pretentiously prance off.
MP3: Future Islands-Where I Found You