The summary is usually supposed to be a brief description and perhaps, an insider’s look at the opinion of the writer who wrote the review. And usually, I try not to be too outwardly expressive when writing an embellished, sometimes run-on, sentence that introduces the album to our readers. Honestly though, some albums simply deserve to be praised and heralded for the vast space their music is able to cover; in purely succinct and blunt terms, when there is music this good – just waiting to be heard – it needs to be proudly declared.
One of my most vivid memories for this year was during the month of May when everything seemed to circle around the greatness of The National and LCD Soundystem’s powerful albums. I had read that this very band, Future Islands, were going to be playing in a tiny coffee shop, forty-five minutes away in another town. And even with the haze of the aforementioned music encompassing me, I still recall walking in to see fifteen people dancing the night away to the incredibly vibrant music the Baltimore trio was performing.
Once you’ve been able to capture the majestic thrill of “Walking through That Door” in the presence of sweaty music fanatics, everything else seems to go away. Where at one moment you have what appears to be a lamenting pop song about lost opportunities, also finds a swerving synthesizer and crawling guitar underneath it all. In his review of This Is Happening, Adam noted that it is “the deft application of dynamic contrast, texture, and timbre that keep(s) the listener engrossed for it entirety.” During that same month of May, Future Islands’ newest album was brightly introduced to new ears. Suddenly, that same brilliant use of superlatives could be used to describe many of this year’s mightiest albums – In Evening Air being one of them.
For what exactly it all sounds like is still somewhat of a mystery even to me. For starters, there are only three members and each one is in charge of manning different sets of instruments, at the same time. As much as Samuel Herring’s voice recalls the eccentric nature of someone like Spencer Krug, his bone-crushing magnetic force rivals any great leading man. Their chemistry seems to always be reaching a boil, especially on something like “Inch of Dust.” Presenting a sparkling melody on a toy bell set, the trio quickly delves into 80s pop territory with towering chords of soaring heights. In terms of an overall sound, this is just one representation; however, the other eight songs have their own story deep in their mystery.
“Tin Man” was the album’s lead single – the obvious choice that also, isn’t exactly the best in attempting to showcase what In Evening Air is about. Still, it rests as one of the album’s propulsive parts, where everything is pushing towards the front. And while Herring sings about personal demons, “Swept Inside” is where everything seems to come to full fruition: hopelessness, lust, and finally, being pulled back inside. Back when I saw them in May, it was obvious that there was much more behind the amazing art of Kymia Nawabi. At the root of all good music is a dying cause to tell a good story and Future Islands take that kind of attitude to heart with In Evening Air; there is nothing dismissible, or close to it, on here.