The Far Field ... is every bit as catchy as its predecessor, but it also shows more depth and variety ... The Far Field is more of a start-to-finish experience, the 12 tracks building on each other to generate a larger feeling of grandeur.
This is pop music designed to give you all the feels, and even with a disruptive pseudo-reggae track thrown into the mix ("Candles"), Future Islands prove that they can do it better than anyone else right now.
The more time I spend with this album, the more I suspect that its creators may be in the process of securing their place in the lineage of the Great American Rock Band.
Precisely because they share so much in aesthetic and lyrical content, what was immediately engaging on Singles is not so on The Far Field. What was previously disarming in its honesty, we now expect and prepare for. This doesn’t mean that the quality has suffered, it has just softened.
‘The Far Field’ might be an album that consolidates what Future Islands have got, which is considerably more than a few years back. Frankly, no band deserves it more.
On ‘The Far Field’ Future Islands have captured their humanity in all its sparkling, chaotic glory.
Whilst there are new additions to their sound, overall this record appears to find them in a holding pattern. For now, this pattern still suits them. The Far Field is another lovely Future Islands record that’s brimming with as much charm as their best work.
New fans may expect another Singles epiphany — a near-flawless jigsaw puzzle of beats, synths, bass and fervor — but pushed to even higher heights. But longtime listeners may recognize in this new album as a solid continuation what Future Islands have been selling for over a decade.
The Far Field is carried by light catharsis, diffused and mild-tempered fun, virtuosic vocal delivery, and steel-clean production.
The Far Field is a cathartic listen, an album that wears its emotions on its sleeve. It's all here, the good times and bad, the hope and despair, laid out for all to see and feel. It's rare that you hear albums that brazenly bear their writers' soul, while remaining this effortlessly enjoyable.
The Far Field is a triumph – it shows Future Islands refusing to buckle under newfound pressure, and instead creating another stellar record to add to their burgeoning catalogue.
Five albums in, Future Islands are beyond reinvention. Instead, they tap into the emotion that runs deep under their synth-pop, and the results are more cathartic and devastating than ever.
While there isn't a song as massive as "Seasons (Waiting on You)," Future Islands haven't plateaued; they've managed a follow-up record that can look their best work in the eye.
“Formulaic” isn’t usually a compliment, but why complain when the formula is this solid?
By confining themselves within the framework they have created, Future Islands have created an instantly recognizable, defining sound through which they can still forge surprises. The Far Field is so cohesive and well-played throughout that the boundaries are invisible.
The Far Field isn't a failure or a misstep, since there are so many good songs and their basic sound is still so strong. It's a shame that the band and Congleton felt the need to pretty things up, to make them sound more sophisticated and domesticated.
The results are comically over-the-top but still warmly moving; he's the kind of guy who can make the line "we were the candles that lit up the snow on dusty roads" seem poignant.
‘The Far Field’ seems to fall victim to its own history. In failing to move beyond their catalogue Future Islands can at times feel as though they are simply treading water, honing a template rather than establishing something new.
The Far Field serves as a reminder of how skilled Future Islands can be when everything locks into place, and even if it never reaches the highs of Singles, it more than holds its own.
While Future Islands’ ‘The Far Field’ may not cover much diverse musical ground, Samuel T. Herring’s brutal, trembling honesty breathes life into the tragedy behind the production.
While there can be no doubt that they have produced a ream of solid pop songs which can be admired in isolation, taken as a whole body of work, their oeuvre is starting to feel a little staid and disappointing.
As unique as Herring's voice is, and as distinctive as the band's bright, bass-driven music about gloomy topics may be, Future Islands remains in a holding pattern on The Far Field, seemingly content to take what works and repeat it ad nauseam.
While their fifth album is not a giant leap forwards, all their essential elements are intact and thriving, and it reaffirms their mastery of modern synthpop.