Many of my favorite singers can’t sing. I’m accustomed to sticking odd aural objects in my ear hole. That being said, Samuel T. Herring of Baltimore-based trio Future Islands has a pretty weird voice. Its closest corollary is Joy Division’s Ian Curtis; melodramatic and theatrical, his spectral moo cow explodes into apoplectic fits — think Springsteen and Waits, or Curtis himself at his most epileptic.
His voice is double-odd in front of the Future Island gauzy-synth backdrop. Here the Joy Division comparison deepens, bridging their late Closer era electro-iciness with the warmer, sweeter, more human sound of New Order that followed, complete with Peter Hook-style melodies supplied by William Cashion on guitar and bass.
This is electronic music, but don’t expect booty-shakin’. And that’s not to say you won’t dance. But it’s more like before you hit the club, staring into the mirror applying lipstick or touching up your hair wondering what the night holds for you. Or the taxi ride home, the last gin ‘n’ tonic warming your gut as melancholy cymbals splash the windshield like raindrops, regretting that the night was not what you hoped for.
And it’s on this taxi ride home you’ll think of Herring’s words from 2010’s In Evening Air: “You couldn’t possibly know how much you meant to me,” or “you hurt me so bad.” You’ll wish you’d thought of these lines when you needed the perfect, most honest thing to say.
Future Islands sound like a break-up feels and they play with Black Mountain and Quest For Fire 8 pm on Thursday, Sept. 6, at WOW Hall; $12 adv., $15 door.