Future Islands ©KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Future Islands

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Future Islands by Kyle Carter

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The bass-heavy ballads and light, bouncy beats of synth-pop trio Future Islands were refined to excellence this year with their new album Singles. The band won the Grulke Prize for best developing U.S. act at this year’s SXSW and now they make their Austin City Limits debut.

East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., united the members as they studied art in 2003. In 2006, Future Islands solidifed and recorded their debut album Wave Like Home in a local skate shop the next year. Soon after the band relocated to Baltimore and their “mournful, triumphat” and “heroic” sound and lyrics, as described by Complex Magazine, gained popularity quickly.

Singles’ predecessor, On the Water, earned the band Best New Track from Pitchfork in 2011 for the single “Balance.” After On the Water, the band moved labels from Chicago-based Thrill Jockey to the legendary 4AD, forming a creative partnership with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Future Islands never lacks improvement of their “bold sound” of “perfectly polished synth pop,” said Vice Noisey.

Singles liberates its sleek, ’80s lines from nostalgia through sheer force of gruff expressiveness,” Spin said of the band’s fourth album. Playing about 200 shows a year, the band’s success runs rampant throughout the U.S. and Europe. This album marks their best yet. As NPR said, “Singles is extremely catchy, well-constructed classic pop: winsome and simple melodies, yearning lyrics, bass lines that will never die.”

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