Future Islands - Singles
Critic Score
Based on 33 reviews
2014 Ratings: #48 / 1004
Year End Rank: #18
User Score
Based on 506 ratings
2014 Ratings: #60
Liked by 7 people
March 25, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Chris Coady / Producer
Synthpop / Genres
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The vocals, the songs, the music, and the production work together to make Singles a one-of-a-kind experience that's nearly perfect.

Northern Transmissions

Singles is leaps and bounds ahead of Future Islands earlier releases, which is no small feat considering the quality of their previous albums. It will undoubtedly make many year end lists, and is their best album to date.

The 405

All that brine is washed away on Singles, an album that throws off the shackles of the past and looks defiantly forward, not back.


Singles is a record that is experimental, yet hugely accessible. Future Islands have always tried to challenge their audience. As that audience looks set to grow ever larger, the band have set course for a thrilling pop journey.

The Line of Best Fit

Singles is an effortless wonder. Each and every track runs its course avoiding any pitfalls: they not once sound laboured or tryhard, and although this is still very un-standard pop, Future Islands fool you into believing this is the bar from which we gauge the charts.


Singles is an album of big, enriching pop anthems, all of equal rank. It's rare to find an album this coherent and firm in quality. 


Singles is a taut album with no real lulls in energy or quality.

Pretty Much Amazing

Future Islands are remaining relevant by crafting stimulating, quirky, synth-laden music that fuses the arcane with the universal; there’s a depth and complexity to their sound that’s lacking in many of their peers.

Entertainment Weekly

Their fourth album is their tightest, most complete effort yet. 

The Skinny

Singles is an impressively assured record, particularly in terms of its robust, coherent sonic palette, which layers ebbing synth chords and delicate guitar lines over an infectious, driving rhythm section.

Drowned in Sound

What they have created is a consistent work which showcases the band’s diversity as well as their skill and passion in making music which treads the ground between weird and wonderful.


Eight years since forming, four albums deep - there remains no other band sounding remotely like Future Islands.


Get past the initial jolt of weirdness and you'll find in his delivery a soul-puncturing cry from the very frontlines of life, able to evoke both desperate tragedy and skyscraping joy all at once.


Herring acts on impulse—at no point does he sound calculated or clever—offering an open invitation to the uninhibited, to the goofy, and the sentimental.


Get over Herring's Shatner-like earnestness like you did with Destroyer's Kenny G moves on Kaputt and you'll unlock the furrowed brows, baggy eyes and bulging veins beneath the metronomic perfection.

FACT Magazine

More sweeping and grand than any of their previous records, the trio’s fourth LP is by far their most cinematic, and if Singles‘ sound has a counterpart in Movieland it’s the films of Sofia Coppola. 

Under The Radar

Where previous albums were drowned in a wash of noise, Singles accentuates the band's softer tones and frames its wild bursts of energy with sharper focus. Singles makes Future Islands more accessible without sacrificing integrity.

The Guardian

Singles is an album overwrought with emotion. And like anything that thrusts itself at you in such a sincere way, you may either want to embrace its theatricality, or retreat from it. 


In taming their wilder side, Future Islands’ ecstatic melancholy has never sounded quite so free.

NOW Magazine

There's nothing super-dark about Singles, but Herring has a tragic underdog quality. Beneath catchy pop hooks, there's deep-rooted pain in these love songs.

God Is in the TV

Listen to Singles ... and you’re made immediately aware that this is a band who have spent time honing their craft and perfecting their sound, and their fourth album is a glorious collection of soaring, uninhabited synth-pop gems for which Singles is the perfect title.


As easy as it is to enjoy, there is something fleeting in its pleasures, as if it isn’t quite complete without occupying the same spaces as the band. 

Consequence of Sound

Three years after their back-to-back records, time has served Future Islands well, especially given their expansive growth and their ability to forge their strongest qualities to precision.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Despite whatever changes have occurred, superficial, contextual, or otherwise, Future Islands have retained those things that have benefited them from inception: their sense of urgency, keen ear for drama, and their unrealized potential.

Rolling Stone

He pours out sad-ballad syrup like he's using it to clog a fresh wound. And sometimes the lyrics are as uncanny as the voice

Slant Magazine

Future Islands have never owned their sound so fully, even if they continually threaten to come off the rails or devolve into pure treacle at any moment.

Loud and Quiet

There’s a lot of infectious funk on ‘Singles’, and Herring as a vocalist can pull off soulful with palpable ease, but this LP still feels as though it’s one step away from Future Islands’ masterpiece.


By the end of Singles, not only are these not singles, they aren’t even the strong Future Islands songs from previous records.


Herring’s growling vocals prevent proceedings from becoming too gloopy or nostalgic, and make ‘Singles’ a new-wave treasure.

Frankly, I struggled with the Future Islands because their music sounded too abstract for a Synth-pop sound. The release of 'Singles' in 2014 had me thinking, 'Once bitten. Twice shy.' So I ignored the album for several years. That all changed when I joined the subscription streaming services, which provides me with a plethora of music to explore. The distinct vocals of Samuel T. Herring are prominent in the mix and make for a delightful listen. Delightful, eh? [Settles back in work chair] ... read more
Singles has very well crafted synth pop tunes with great sounding production. I live the vocals and the melodies are super enjoyable.

Overall consistent, but Seasons (waiting on you) is definitely far better than any others songs as it is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard.
discog dive #1 future islands
and as if in a dream, the stars align and future islands find their mojo and groove.
kicking the album off with what could arguably the best song of all time, future islands locks you in with a 40 min serving of lush groovy emotional synthpop.
Seasons and Fall From Grace, absolutely outstanding, Fall from Grace genuinely made me gasp and cry on first listen

[original review dec 17th original score: 79]
a man yells over soft synths and dreamy drums, perhaps it ... read more
How many bands can trace their breakout moment back to an accident? By the mercy of getting his foot run over by a car, Samuel T. Herring was forced to develop his oddball dance moves he does on stage in order to help him move around better. As the band did the rounds on late night television, his dancing became a meme, and Future Islands started getting the recognition they very much deserved. But their success was built on so much more than gifs spread through tumblr. Singles is the ... read more
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Added on: January 8, 2014