People Who Aren't Here Anymore

Future Islands

4AD, 2024

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


It has now been 10 years since Future Islands’ 2014 breakthrough Singles, and those ensuring years have resulted in slight updates to the band’s brand of synth-pop, though only slight.

The ’80s synthesizer blurbs are more integrated into the music now, while Samuel Herring’s voice is as resonant as ever. The band still favors feeling and mood over hooks, though, so the songs here draw in the listener with their sheen and feel, but don’t leave a lasting impression for the most part. I noted in my review of my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Singles that the songwriting isn’t up to par with the singing; maybe a bit harsh, but still on the nose on this new album. You have to feel it, I suppose.

The songs here date back to 2021; some of them have been released as singles and will be familiar to fans. “King Of Sweden” is a solid opener, though, catchy and energetic pop that the rest of the album unfortunately fails to live up to. One exception is “Peach,” which shows up late in the album; there is a War On Drugs feel to the sprawl and songwriting, and it’s a career highlight.

There are lyrics here about resilience, generated mainly due to Herring’s breakup with his longtime girlfriend in Sweden (FI is based in Baltimore). Because the songs were written over a four-year period, we’re sort of witnessing the breakup as it happens, which lends a gravity and a throughline to the words. Unfortunately, these take precedence over memorable melodies, so you’ll be hard-pressed to recall much of the music, even if Herring still sounds great singing it.

It's been suggested that Future Islands is better on stage than on album, and unfortunately, People does little to break that philosophy, inasmuch as it continues to tread the same ground but with different lyrics. A couple of neat singles and very minor sonic updates aside, this is still the same band as Singles, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2024 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of 4AD, and is used for informational purposes only.