Pin It
In Evening Air stands as one of the year's best records—a poetic, provocative and powerful statement by a band patient enough to recognize its limitations and turn them into intoxicating, electric atmospheres.

Future Islands' In Evening Air 

(Thrill Jockey Records)

In Evening Air, the full-length debut from Baltimore-via-Greenville trio Future Islands, accomplishes a lot with very little. Even calling the band a trio misleads, as the term might evoke images of a guitar, bass and drums triumvirate, bashing away at viscous rock music. But this is a hooky, dark dance band. Sam Herring only sings and sashays. William Cashion just plays bass. Gerrit Welmers adds programmed drums and beds and blips of keyboards.

Future Islands' sound doesn't suffer the duo-with-frontman configuration. Cashion's distorted bass pairs deep, wide textures with terse, neck-snapping melodies. Welmers' keys luxuriate in layers of noise on "An Apology" and sprinkle variations on a sad-eyed pop theme during "Swept Inside." "Vireo's Eye" stacks layers of tones and tempos, using simple repetition to create the illusion of a bigger band.

What's more, In Evening Air is a little LP: Its nine songs combine for 36 minutes, and the mid-album title track is a luminous instrumental miniature that suggests sound artist Philip Jeck rebuilding a Ziggy Stardust instrumental. Still, these minutes are full of emotional intensity given perfect urgency by Herring's strangled soulman voice. Suggesting The Postal Service's Give Up losing its innocence, these springy tunes come swallowed by storm clouds. On "Long Flight," for instance, Herring takes us into the bedroom where he saw his live-in lover cheat, singing, "I really wanted you there/ But you ruined what was love/ Just 'cause you needed a hand" like he's still sweating through the nightmare. "Call on me/ I'll be there always," he chants during "Inch of Dust," gradually getting louder with the phrase, turning what first seems an offer of reassurance into a cry for mutual help. You sort of want to give the dude a hug. Mostly, though, you'll want to sing along.

Neither Future Islands nor In Evening Air are remarkable only for their efficiency. Size matters only insofar as the songs and the performances succeed, and, here, both are mostly perfect. In Evening Air stands as one of the year's best records—a poetic, provocative and powerful statement by a band patient enough to recognize its limitations and turn them into intoxicating, electric atmospheres.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

More by Grayson Haver Currin

Facebook Activity

Twitter Activity

Comments

Can we just start out by telling people to go see him play?

by Holly Evans Gray on Dex Romweber gets mad (Record Review)

Great band- really amazing, live energy. Happy to see this review, and I can't wait until the full length!

by sliceobri on Flesh Wounds get a Merge single (Record Review)

Most Read

© 2014 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation