In Evening Air
Baltimore-based Future Islands put Dan Deacon producer Chester Endersby Gwazda at the helm again for their second full-length release. The Islands’ unique sound — soul-rattling pulses of bass, unadorned, bone-smooth percussion, and keyboards possessed by both B-movie and “modern rock” hobgoblins — sets them apart from the current pack of electro-pop artists (actually, they’ve branded themselves a “post-wave” dance band). But frontman Samuel Herring is their real not-so-secret weapon, and his unnerving, over-the-top yowling puts FI a few fields left of the indie-pop center. It’s a delicious pairing, Herring’s gruff delivery of lines like “We go alone at night/to misery’s bed” and Gerrit Welmer’s refreshingly muscular keyboard subduing William Cashion’s engorged bass lines, preventing them from billowing into chaos. Chiming steel- drum tones in “Tin Man” become a menace, a jittery twinkle amid layers of gritty, fuzzed-out bass and keyboards; “Vireo’s Eye” is the spawn of an ‘80s Cure song, with its glacial synths, simmering bass and snapping drum track. In Evening Air is a serious year-end list contender.