Future Islands, In Evening Air
Bleak and beautiful
As any practiced insomniac will tell you, the human body can go for about 30 hours straight before things start getting weird. At that point, your ears get choosy, your voice drops to a slurred cackle, and your brain pops with the sort of deep-moored emotions that'll keep you awake for another half-day or so. It's a sensation both euphoric and disorienting, and it's evoked frequently on this Baltimore trio's gorgeously murky third effort.
Led by frontman Sam Herring, a troubled-mind wordsmith with a soulful growl, Future Islands merge synth-rock bombast with post-punk jitter. "Long Flight" and "Inch of Dust" are both hazy colossuses, pile-ons of drum-machine tick-tocks, airy keyboards and Herring's sinuous vocals, which switch from effete to engorged and back again. But the stand-out here is "Tin Man," a post-breakup gut-pour that finds Herring pleading over twinkling steel drums and blurry power chords: "You couldn't possibly know how much you mean to me," Herring sings in a gnarled choke. "You couldn't possibly look inside my tarot." Like much of In Evening Air, it's bleak and beautiful, the sort of track that inspires dreams or nightmares — assuming you can get to sleep in the first place.