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In Samuel T Herring, Future Islands have a raspy, yowling, classic-soul singer.

But here’s the catch: the Baltimore trio sets his exuberant vocals not to retro-soul/R&B but synthpop.

Their fourth album starts off promisingly with the expansive break-up number “Seasons (Waiting on You)”, a reminder that synthpop has its own tradition of vocal melodrama.

But it goes downhill as Herring grows hammier, enunciating doggerel like “She looks like the moon/So close and yet, so far” with lip-smacking relish, until the effect comes to resemble Brian Blessed coaching Cee-Lo Green to play Midge Ure in an Ultravox biopic.

Future Islands

Singles

(4AD)

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