Album Review: As Long As You Are by Future Islands

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Future Islands are synthpop and indie pop band originally from North Carolina. While knowing of the band, I never really dove deep into their music. My first experience was actually a Samuel Herring feature on BADBADNOTGOOD’s track, Time Moves Slow. After doing a little digging, I finally figured out why the vocals were so familiar. If you haven’t heard his voice, it’s so distinct and noticeable from the get go. With a career spanning over a decade long, check out their sixth album, As Long As You Are.

The first track from the album is Glada. The track opens up with some sort of bird noises, which is expected since ‘glada’ is a type of bird. Besides that, you get your dreamy synths that paint a beautiful track and album ahead. You also are greeted by Samuel’s deep and rough vocals. This is definitely one of the slowed down, but definitely worthwhile tracks from this album. If this is your first dive into synthpop, be sure to check out the rest of the album.

For Sure marks the shortest track from the album, just a little under three and a half minutes in length. The synths are definitely more electronic in feeling, and this track definitely speeds up the album more compared to the last track. The bass line is also prominent on this piece. Since Samuel’s voice is so distinct and unique, it just pops and stands out during the chorus. It honestly almost sounds like you’re listening to some type of European pop band. This track talks about love and how you need trust in a relationship.

Born in a War continues with the dreamy and glossed out synths. However, we are also introduced to an intriguing guitar part. The synths are laid on the backburner for most of the track. They are still there, but mostly in the background. This track goes back to where most of the band grew up, since most of them grew up in a rural small town. He talks about how gun violence is a huge issue in the United States right now, and then where he grew up, hunting and going to church on Sunday was standard.

I Knew You is another track that starts a bit toned down. You can hear the gradual progression and growing of synths as this track goes on. The walls of synths never settles down until about halfway, and it just keeps growing with different melodies. This track is actually a true story from Samuel and this is the last track he’ll ever write about this person. This seems to potentially be about an ex-lover of his and that he finally got closure from this person.

City’s Face opens up with some more beautiful guitars in the background. Unfortunately, they quickly fade from the beginning and the synths start taking over again. They are still there, but mostly just keep time with quick running lines. This is another personal track for the lead singer and of course, talks about a previous relationship. Since the relationship didn’t work out well, he ended up hating the city of Baltimore, just because of the bad relationship experience.

Waking is another high energy, and your usual synthpop banger. You got your running synth lines as well as one synth working on the melody throughout the track. However, I really do think that the vocals overpower the synths for most of the track. This is definitely one of the more positive tracks on the album and talks about just being their for others. The band has said that this track talks about reaching out to others and taking time to better your own self.

The Painter marks the longest track of the album, just clocking in under five minutes in length. The track opens up with some almost note-less guitar strums that keep the beat going. Samuel’s voice opens up a bit softer than normal, but he does come in with his booming vocals as the track progresses. He has talked about how this track has some political meaning to it. He talks about how he wishes a painting could mean the same thing to everyone, however, people will have different view points of the painting. That goes along with how people have different views in politics.

Plastic Beach definitely has an 80s-esque vibe to it, especially with the way it opens up. The guitar mixed with the perfect reverb of synths just mesh together so well. Also, the full instrumentation just leads to this grand moment at the chorus section. You can’t go wrong with this instrumentation that they have on this one. This track has a lot to do with accepting and loving yourself. Samuel has talked about how he has had issues with his self image, but has worked on it with time.

Moonlight tones down the track with the spaced out, and almost quiet synths. You also have your slow guitar part in the background. The lyrics are pretty minimalist in nature, but if you dig a little deeper, it is quite poetic. According to the man himself, this is a love song about depression, as well as a song about acceptance. You can definitely see it with the line ‘So we just lay in bed all day’ as well as some other lines on here.

Thrill starts out with an almost haunt-like synth line. I don’t quite know why, but with just that single line, it gives off an eerie vibe. You also have a low blaring bass synth as the chorus of the track starts to kick in, which just adds to it. This is another track that has a dark theme tied to it. This track starts to tackle the issue of addiction, more so alcohol abuse. The track takes place in their college town and some of the issues they have seen.

The last and final track from the album is Hit the Coast. Just as you would expect, it’s another upbeat, or at least faster paced track to end the album. Based on the lyrics from this track, it seems to have to do with leaving someone behind and just starting a new life. He talks about how sometimes you just need to pack up your vehicle and leave all of the toxic things in your life. It may be hard for some people, but it will be better in the end.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Favorite Tracks: Glada, For Sure, I Knew You, Waking, Plastic Beach, Hit the Coast

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