Elevate Difference

In Evening Air

Synthpop is my steeze. I like to dance, I like to daydream staring out of train windows, and I’m a woman-child passing for an adult on the days that I’m forced to leave the house. This sappy, manufactured genre could have been created just for me and my wild ideas about the big world in which I am so small. I don’t care in which decade it was produced; I’ve been known to adore anything from Modern Talking to Pet Shop Boys to Freezepop. Are there multi-layered keyboards involved in the making of the music? Then I’ll probably like it.

Future Islands, a Baltimore band signed to Thrill Jockey just last year, makes the sort of goofy romantic tunes I love. I can imagine dancing at my best friend’s impending nuptials to “Walking Through That Door,” arms outstretched, spinning in circles in front of the outdated DJ booth in the corner of a Middle American banquet hall. I can even imagine looking at the video fifteen years later, thinking, “That dress is awesomely retro, and so is that song!” I never tire of feeling like it’s 1986 and love is in the air. This song evokes this feeling; every time I put it on, I am elated.

As the second half of the album rolls on, the formerly upbeat party music segues into softer, mellowed pop. Songs like “Tin Man” make use of what sounds like steel drums and a marimba, while “An Apology” puts vocalist Sam Herring’s raspy vocals to the test a la Tom Waits. “Swept Inside,” which is lovely and worth a slow two-step around your living room, is also the sort of song that could end up backing a tearful moment on The City, Brooklyn in the background, sort of gray and mournful, much like your life is supposed to be. This isn’t a criticism; it’s just the way this music works. And it does that–it works.

The album winds down in the way a sappy television show wraps up, or the way the aforementioned wedding will probably end. Everyone will hug and cry and there will be slow-motion laughter that will seem even better looking back. In Evening Air is a complete album experience, from jubilant beginning to bittersweet end.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, May 4th 2010

i resist admitting i like synthpop—yet it often does give me that happy nostalgia feeling. (it's not unlike the feeling when i watched Pretty in Pink for the dozenth time, and still cried.) your review, honest in its enthusiasm and thoroughly evocative of the music elements, made me take a listen. it's good stuff.