Future Islands, gig review: Samuel T Herring is utterly original

The synthpop band from Baltimore sold out London's Shepherd's Bush Empire

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The Independent Culture

If any band has the ability to reinvigorate synth pop it's Future Islands; a genre now so ubiquitous even Taylor Swift has released an album based around it.

Future Islands are a band you must see live to understand their appeal. The stage presence of lead singer Samuel T Herring is inimitable - he lunges across the stage in a series of awkward, spontaneous and energetic moves that make you wonder why more frontmen don't put similar efforts into engaging their audience. He is the anti aloof; a fist-clenching, eye-locking, wiggling Morrissey lookalike with a penchant for crawling and high kicks. His vocals are peppered with unexpected, loud heavy metal snarls. It would be easy to reference Mick Jagger for energy, Jacques Brel for intensity and emotion, but it wouldn't be fair as he is utterly original.

The band itself have been around since 2006, and released their fourth album, Singles, in March. Their sell-out Shepherd's Bush gig saw them play a mix of old and new with varying tempos. "In The Fall" and "The Great Fire" were slower with deeper synths, but the band were at their best with poppy uplifting tracks such as "Sun In The Morning" and "Seasons Change".