Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Future Islands process eternal change with familiarity on People Who Aren’t There Anymore

"People Who Aren't There Anymore"

Release date: 26 January 2024
Future Islands People Who Arent There Anymore cover
25 January 2024, 16:35 Written by Noah Barker

Future Islands are concerned with time and place in much the same way stray dogs are concerned with freshly made pies cooling on unattended windowsills.

There is always a motion. The opening of the record sees vocalist Samuel T. Herring on an unnamed train ruminating about the passage of time and the effects of love on his life, a spot he routinely nestles within throughout Future Islands’ storied synth-pop discography.

What ground they shatter into unrest with visionary fervour is not much and their forward-facing ideas for the genre have been mistaken for their rearview mirror; however, age has taught me there is virtue in this type of stasis. Especially concerning the morose and mortal tones they drum up, there is comfort in digging one’s heels into the familiar and trying to get it right, at least this time.

There’s an anxious draft cooling the room here that for every smudge they’ve polished in their sound, they’ve been double-backed by the inevitability of ageing. Drum mixing issues that plagued earlier releases into perpetual mid-pace are corrected, but replaced by dance grooves with 9-5s to consider; synth technology has allowed a more detailed area of display, turning every press of a key into the THX revving engine, but for a set of tracks less deserving of the sheen than their earlier creative peaks. These are not annoyances, but reminders coming from Future Islands’ chipper memento mori that the world can always spin another time.

Propulsive standouts such as “The Tower” and “Peach” are just light enough on their own feet to dance to, featuring that Herring charm of being roused into a fully lived life on the merits of this stranger’s voice alone. “Say Goodbye” is one of many tracks here that displays an odd staccato delivery, which, while not necessarily an issue for those tracking the development and weathering of Herring’s presence, is certainly an acquired taste. More than any record in their discography, People Who Aren’t There Anymore is as newly accessible as it is relishing in prior experience.

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