This is a video that people have been a-buzz about for the last week, and I just really needed to get my words in about it. It’s fantastic. Future Islands has always been fantastic, but this video really cemented them as a top tier band in my eyes.
First of all, how potentially uncool could this guy be? Hear me out: We, as shallow pop culture consumers, don’t necessarily look at normal dudes with tucked-in t-shirts and receding hairlines as cool. I know, it’s fucked. But lead singer Sam Herring here doesn’t care, and he’s got the out of this world talent to win you to his side. He’s a singer that feels the world more than you or I — except when he lets us channel it through him and his performance.
Your initial reaction may be to giggle at the un-self-conscious dancing, or maybe the growling lines. But if you’ve got any sort of earnestness in your heart, you’ll quickly be won over by it’s purity and honesty. Herring has perfected the art of sad dancing; melancholy grooves and emotionally getting down. Is there any better feeling in the world? The heaviness of the soul combined with the catharsis of the body. It’s what we should all aim for in this life and the next.
Can I talk about the growling? I fucking love it. If we can hit pitch-breaking high notes for emphasis, why can’t we hit gravelly low-notes for emphasis too? It lands somewhere between The Miracles doing “Love Machines,” the punk catharsis of Fucked Up and Cookie Monster. It takes you by surprise but it makes so much sense once you’re used to it.
It’s also great that this harkens back to a time when late night TV shows were king-makers. That hasn’t been true for a while — the Tonight Show used to be the stage where bands would know they made it, but only a handful of times has that been true since the Carson days. The buzz around Future Islands since the Letterman performance is evidence that these can be hallowed stages once again, and there are few bands that deserve the attention like Future Islands.
Their new album, Singles is out March 25 on 4AD.