Album Reviews | Future Islands – Singles (2014)

No, Singles isn’t a greatest hits album, but it might as well be. Every track is cunningly crafted with retro synths designed to capture the mood of the original new wave in the late ’70s and early ’80s while keeping the songwriting sensibility quite modern. Put another way, they have taken a page out of Phoenix‘s indie rock playbook by keeping every song not just awash in dreamy synthesizers but also razor-sharp in its focus on pop craftsmanship. This keeps the feel immediate — none of these tunes come close to verging on experimental since the songs never stray from traditional structures — and the results are damn good. The writing is tight and the production, thanks to the carefully layered synths, provides plenty of space — usually a winning combo, and Singles is no exception. Some tracks are just fabulous: “A Song for Our Grandfathers,” “Doves,” and “Like the Moon” possess the strongest hooks and are the most likely to catch your ear in the first pass. (The closer, “A Dream of You and Me,” should probably be added to that list as well.) It’s one of the better releases overall on the year, and easily one of the best indie rock albums of 2014.


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