Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
The people in Future Islands are chandeliers that aren't yet hung. It struck me yesterday, while walking through the aisles at Home Depot yesterday evening, needing to replace a light fixture that had just took a shit on us. There were two or three rows of nothing but fixtures. Already I don't recall if they carried anything like a chandelier, but the smattering of available hangings were enough to look at and wonder about. Most of the ones seen there were going to be hoisted up and installed into the ceiling of a room that would likely rarely host any special nights. There would be a lot of television watching beneath them. There would be some kids playing with dolls and trucks. There would be meals eaten beneath them, but almost all of the food would be dished up on nothing resembling fine china. They would be plastic or paper plates or those that you got on your wedding day that you'll likely have and will likely keep using and throwing into the dishwasher until you've reached middle age. Most of the fixtures that were in that store will go on to help bask nothing of importance or significance, just the mundane actions of a bunch of domesticated individuals. But the chandeliers, wherever they are, wherever those come from, we think about them. We think about what they could be like sitting in their boxes, in those cold bays at a store like this one. We toss these chandeliers some personification and we start to hear the rumblings of what their hopes and dreams might be as they await. They might know that they're destined to hang in grand rooms, over important people, to light balls and galas, to hover and dangle over the well-dressed and the beaming folks of any given night. These chandeliers seem a lot like the people that Samuel Herring, the lead singer of Future Islands, presents us with. They are brimming with feelings, of grand emotions. They sound as if they're going to explode with their doubts and their needs. Herring gives voice to these things in ways that makes them sound tumultuous. They sound as if they've been wounded, rolled down a steep hill and they're at the bottom with sticks and rocks and mud ground into their bloody wounds, but they've not lost a sense that good things were still going to happen. Maybe they're chandeliers that have been slightly damaged, dinged, partially shattered, but remain steadfast in the belief that they will finally wind up in a beautiful place one day. Herring sings like a mix between Wild Beasts' Hayden Thorpe and Tom Waits and the words come out as haunting asides and memoirs, pieces of outbursts and inner-workings that are no less viable to that person's reality. They just want to be loved and happy by all means necessary and they'll take whatever they can get. They'll find a way to take as much happiness as they feel they're owed.