Reviews \

Future Islands, ‘On the Water’ (Thrill Jockey)

Stephanie Benson // October 11, 2011

Baltimore’s Future Islands obviously were born with their ears pointed eastward to the theatrically heartbroken land of New Order, the Cure, and David Bowie. On this much-improved third album, synths swell, beats throb, and oceanic drones creep. Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner wafts through like a specter on “The Great Fire,” but Sam Herring is the true phantom of this synth-pop opera, still gruffly howling like he’s been forced to gargle rocks in the name of love — a subject that devastatingly plagues him — but also willing to settle into the grooves, even conceding that “it just takes time.”