The Far Field

Future Islands - The Far Field
Critic Score
Based on 36 reviews
2017 Ratings: #351 / 883
User Score
Based on 254 ratings
2017 Ratings: #301
Liked by 1 person
April 7, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Synthpop / Genres
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A.V. Club

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 Line of Best Fit

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.

The Skinny

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.

God Is in the TV

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.

Tiny Mix Tapes

The Far Field is carried by light catharsis, diffused and mild-tempered fun, virtuosic vocal delivery, and steel-clean production.

No Ripcord

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 405

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.


As they’ve taken so long to get where they are, let them enjoy what they do most, and that is to create an album ram-packed full of top-notch melodic synth-pop – a triumph from start to finish.


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.

Under The Radar

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.

Pretty Much Amazing

“Formulaic” isn’t usually a compliment, but why complain when the formula is this solid?

Northern Transmissions

It’s truly exciting to hear Future Islands moving even further into pop on this album without losing what makes their sound so unique.


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.

Rolling Stone

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.

Consequence of Sound

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.

Loud and Quiet

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.

Slant Magazine

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.

The Guardian

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.

The Needle Drop

The Far Field, the fifth album from NC synthpop trio Future Islands, is a serious case of musical déjà vu.

Drowned in Sound

Apart from the new wave prom dance of 'Candles', The Far Field plays out like a treadmill – same tempos, same whining siren wails from the synths, same bass undulation.

An Album with some of their best tracks in their discography that fizzles out at the back end with underwhelming tunes like Candles, Shadows and Black Rose.

Favorite Tracks: Time on Her Side, Ran, Through the roses, Ancient Water, Day Glow Fire
Se mantienen en la atmósfera de su anterior álbum, aunque la calidad podría considerarse algo inferior.
Highly professional and polished propulsive pop that's elevated by Herring's impassioned vocal delivery - just about everything you'd want from an indie pop record in 2017 is present and correct here.
I really tried to find something remotely appealing about this record but I guess it's not my cup of tea. The combination between the glossy production and Herring's vocals is just so weird to me, like all the effects they do to his voice don't make it sound better at all. I had a realization by the end of the record and is that almost all of the songs here have the same structure, the same melody, the same guitar progression and the same ending... like really? Couldn't they get a bit more ... read more
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Added on: February 1, 2017