Don’t be surprised if Future Islands comes snapping out of 5th Alley like a gang of dancing street toughs from 1955. The North Carolina-founded, Baltimore-based synth-pop trio has grooves to spare, and lead vocalist Samuel T. Herring has some dance moves that will make you feel inadequate. They’ve been working at that can-do sound of theirs, all the while evolving from kids to adults, and nowadays they’re surfing a wave of half-maturity that leaves their sound feeling hopeful, ponderous and full of heart. It feels like summer love in the digital age, with all the innocence and dusk-cloaked twinkle of a bright new star in fading light. Oh, and I think there’s an Instagram filter that looks like that too.
But Future Islands’ roots go farther back than expected. You might not think it, but the band is older than Starfucker. So yeah, not ancient, but still old enough to know exactly what they’re playing at.
The Future Islands boys recorded their debut album in a Greenville, N.C., skateshop. Back then it was all bass burn and electronic drums and hanky-pankerous teentronica, with just enough Southern-East-Coast mug to deter comparisons with a very young Ra Ra Riot. It’s funny how years go by and layer themselves into creative imagination, and it really didn’t take all that long for Future Islands to ease through adolescence. Label 4AD is perfect for them. Really all you need to think about is The National, but it’s like their voices never broke and they’re still twirling, twirling, twirling, living out their days in sepia-smattered youth, the world at their door and all the threads they’ll never need to grasp.
Future Islands plays with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Jason Urick 8 pm Sunday, April 6, at Cozmic; $10 adv., $12 door.