"Inch Of Dust"
Any talk of Future Islands is bound to come back to scene-stealing frontman Samuel T. Herring, a dramatic, verbose showman eager to spin each one of these lush but simply-stated orchestrations into something grander. At times wailing like a cross between Tom Waits and the Sea Captain from "The Simpsons" (nicely exemplified at the stirring peak of "An Apology"), occasionally adopting a strange British patois to augment a sort of sing-speak, Herring's presence is over-the-top in just the right way. He often seems overwhelmed by tragedy (usually waxing cryptic about lost love), and brings a great sense of damage and loss-- as well as welcome spots of humor-- to each acrobatic performance. But what he uncovers in the patches of calypso, sci-fi movie noise, and circling synth patterns is often surprisingly heartening. Drawing from a few different traditions while making them their own, Future Islands prove here to be a well-versed group of wild, woolly storytellers.