Album Reviews: Future Islands, Perfect Pussy, Architecture in Helsinki

Future-Islands-Singles2

 Future Islands- Singles

Release Date: 03/24/2014

Grade: B+

Future Islands is a band that’s difficult to throw into a musical category. There’s heavy use of synthesizers, and genre wise it’s somewhere between pop and rock, but the way that the vocals seem to clash with the instrumentation in an unexpectedly fitting way gives this band their own unique sound. It’s difficult to confuse a Future Islands album with anything else, and their 4AD debut Singles reveals that they are still capable of creating the great sounds which have defined their discography and live performances in the past. Singles is filled with consistently pleasant listens which can either soothe your mind such as “A Song for Our Grandfathers”, or give you an easy excuse to dance like what “Sun in the Morning” provides. It caps out at a B+ here only because Singles sounds just like what it’s name suggests, a collection of singles which lacks the continuity of a great album. That being said, this album will be a great one to throw on and relax to for the upcoming months surely!

Top Tracks: “Seasons (Waiting on You)”, “Sun in the Morning”

Say Yes to Love

Perfect Pussy- Say Yes To Love

Release Date: 03/18/2014

Grade: B

Things have been progressing rather quickly for the noise-rock band who hail from Syracuse. It started with them gaining the attention of national music publications who shared their singles last year, and it’s now grown to both give them a record deal and allow them to become one of the top live-performance stories of the past CMJ festival in New York City. Say Yes to Love clocks in at twenty-three minutes long and contains eight tracks, careening between energy paced rock and long segments of transitional empty noise in the process. These qualities make the listen seem more similar to a demo tape than a debut album, but the rawness of the approach actually helps here more than it hurts because it helps to create the feeling of music which is immediately present to the listener. Perfect Pussy gets a lot of the credit that they do because of how consistently this immediacy is present in their music, but the band really does needs to improve significantly in songwriting before they can claim to fully deserve the attention which they’ve received thus far. It’s doubtful that the band will be sending out apology notes for this however, and to be fair if I could claim a song as good as “Interference Fits” is then I probably wouldn’t be doing that either. It might just be that consistently good songs will require being patient with the band who have received about every opportunity except that up until this point.

Top Tracks: “Interference Fits”, “Big Stars”
Now+4Eva

Architecture in Helsinki- Now + 4EVA

Release Date: 03/28/2014

Grade: C-

This Australian indie-pop group’s music used to be identified by how simple it was to enjoy in earlier albums of theirs like In Case We Die and Fingers Crossed. Those were albums which although light in substance at times, remained fun and at least semi-thought provoking for their duration. Perhaps a band creating their fifth studio album has a good reason to stray from this, but the combination of pop and disco qualities on Now + 4Eva has turned Architecture in Helsinki into a group who’s lost touch with their sentimentality in a similar sense to what’s happened to Ra Ra Riot post-The Rhumb Line. It’s discouraging to listen to because it’s obvious in the opening moments of the first track “In the Future” that this album will accept loose hypotheticals as legitimate song topics and rely on pop qualities to save the song. The group is still very good at overlapping vocals and added instrumentations to their credit, but I’d argue that these are strengths which have been displayed elsewhere in their discography even more impressively than on Now +4Eva. From here on out it appears that there are two justifiable routes for the band: either fully committing to a more electronic sound with the focus being set upon top notch production, or returning to a more stripped-down sound with focus placed upon creatively genuine song topics. Anything else just damages the lasting perception of the work which has been completed beforehand.

Top Tracks: “Born to Convince You”, “Dream a Little Crazy”

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