If Future Islands’ songs once seemed like invitations to witness scenes from someone else’s life, People Who Aren’t There Anymore presents the whole absorbing saga, transmuting hurt to hope in the triumph of this band’s career. Here is excitement, devastation, understanding, and the dawn’s rays of redemption in 44 minutes—a record that, at last, commits the full rapture of Future Islands to tape.
From their start, Future Islands have been singular and instantly identifiable. Samuel T. Herring’s life-worn croons and cries backlit by Gerrit Welmers’ melodies and charged by the rhythms of William Cashion and Michael Lowry. That premise hasn’t changed on People Who Aren’t There Anymore, but the people have. There’s a pain and a joy that’s in Herring’s voice that’s only been rivaled by their legendary live performances, but never captured in their studio albums, that feels like it’s been untethered for the first time.
Future Islands have played nearly 1,500 shows – shows that have bruised bodies, frayed vocal cords, provided escapes for audiences, and healed their messengers. People Who Aren’t There Anymore is a major work from a band at an inflection point: they’re discovering new ways to experience the world, because the old ways weren’t working. That freedom has led to the most fully realized, most transparently honest statement in their 17 years as a band.
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