People Who Aren’t There Anymore

People Who Aren’t There Anymore

For Sam Herring, the lead singer of Baltimore’s indie mainstays Future Islands, the band’s seventh album People Who Aren’t There Anymore doesn’t fall neatly into the pre- or post-pandemic boxes. “The first half of the album was written within the pandemic,” he told Apple Music’s Hanuman Welch. “The second half was written after we did our first tour back. So this really elongated space with plenty of time to forget what we're going through, but still being in it. I think, collectively, the world is finally coming to terms with what happened between 2020 and 2022, and the sense of how much the world has changed.” Grappling with those profound changes partially made it into the band’s previous album, 2020’s As Long As You Are, but they come into sharper focus here. Herring mines the end of romantic relationships and the loss of friendships, and even parts ways with past iterations of himself that no longer serve a purpose, all while trying to balance the heft of grief with hard-won optimism. First single “The Tower” serves as a lynchpin between the two albums, bridging that era of what came before and what lies ahead. In true Future Islands fashion, the track fits into a familiar mythology for the band. “Within the Future Islands canon, it works perfectly, because so many songs of ours are at the sea, standing at the sea, having those thoughts,” Herring said. “I was separated from my partner, who was in Sweden, I was in the States, couldn't get back there, and I was just constantly fighting myself over that part of you that wants to give up. So it is a reflection of the past, and how we continue to still have those existential breakdowns, and these pivotal moments of our lives at the sea staring into the great gulf and hoping that someone's there.”

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