Future Islands - On The Water (2011, Thrill Jockey)
Future Islands’ current sound is a bit of an enigma in the modern rock arena. For their first few releases, they dabbled in highly danceable synthpop, which called into mind early releases by contemporaries like The Octopus Project and Math the Band. On The Water departs ever so slightly from this formula, entering into the practice of more Britpop-styled synth-and-guitar ballads. Lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s vocal delivery is just as posh and theatrical as ever, if not more so, and the interplay between his distinctive, almost Shakespearean singing and the atmospheric synth washes is truly remarkable. And of course, it’s produced by Chester Endersby Gwazda, a rising Baltimore musician and producer who recently also worked on Dan Deacon’s America, so definitely give this one a shot.