Three years on from Myth Takes and under a year since drummer Jeremy Fuchs died tragically, !!! have hit back with Strange Weather Isn’t It? a dance punk funk-tinged record. Like a lot of bands this year, such as Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, !!! have produced one of the best albums of their career so far.
The Sacremento group went to Berlin to record most of the album, to soak up the creative experiences offered by a diverse exciting city and in their own words “make their Berlin record”.
!!! are known for their exhilarating live performances and Myth Takes was certainly a record that translated better live. Strange Weather Isn’t It? has managed to bridge the gap between album and live performance and the result is their most cohesive album to date.
An unashamed party band this album is full of catchy hooks and dark bass grooves with, a sprinkling of jazz. The opening track ‘AM/FM’ is an easy catchy opener with a hint of the multi-layered production to come. ‘Jamie My Intentions Are Bass’ does what is says on the tin, a bass driven disco-edged track. Further on, ‘Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks’ is reminiscent of an early 90’s Primal Scream song, but with a modified and souped up production.
Continually building and darkening, the penultimate track ‘Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss’ has a funktastic hook made to make you move. !!! save the best until last with a killer hedonistic floor filler tune ‘The Hammer’ to close.
This is a record dense with layers evoking a ’70s New York funk and soul sound, late ’80s Manchester mixed with infectious drum loops and percussion. A slick production of only nine tracks, small but perfectly formed.
Post-punk/new-wave act Future Islands are three-piece band born of Baltimore’s Wham City scene and have visited these shores a couple of times, including a support slot to the Dan Deacon Ensemble in Andrews Lane Theatre last March.
Samuel T.Herring, the lead singer with a distinctive raspy voice, laid the groundwork that night for a sweaty energetic show. In the DIY ethos of Wham City, he was selling copies of their cassette (not CD) in the lobby minutes after their set.
In Evening Air is their second studio album, their first full length release on the Thrill Jockey label. It features similar synth-pop arrangements to other Wham City artists but what sets this band apart is lead singer Herrings’ emotional, sometimes whispering, sometimes wailing voice.
The album opens with a heavy ’80s influence on the high tempo ‘Walking Through That Door’. Herring showcases his vocal dexterity against a tight synth arrangement. The energetic tempo carries through to ‘Long Flight’ and to the first single off the album ‘Tin Man’. This highlight track features steel drums, a strong bass line and an impassioned closing refrain of “I am a tin man”.
The title track slows the pace and gives the listener a short respite before the rousing ‘Swept Inside’, another of the album’s stand out tracks.
‘Vireo’s Eye’ builds the album to a fitting crescendo before ‘As I Fall’ closes it out. A cohesive set of nine tracks which keep a raw punk feel but more rounded than their first album Wave Like Home.
This is an album which deals with heartbreak and lost love with a difference, the contrast of Herrings dark poetic lyrics delivered in his distinctive style, set against the happy swirling pop punk soundtrack.
Future Islands have added a Dublin date to their European tour in October, playing the new Working Men’s Club on October 10th.