Setting Sail for Future Islands

photo courtesy of the guardian

I’m not ashamed to tell you I watched the youTube video of the band, Future Islands’ appearance on David Letterman more than once. I’m not even ashamed to admit that I have watched it perhaps 20 times…maybe more. My husband discovered it was posted on a number of sites, and shared it with me one night after dinner. He was on his 10th or 11th viewing by then and I was tired of hearing the same song issue forth from his computer over and over. I had to see what was so engaging about it.

It is so many things that draw me in and keep me there, waiting, every single time, watching, listening, marveling at this band I can only describe as, if Bronski Beat met Black Flag and had a baby, that had a baby with Marlon Brando. I’m gaga for this group and I’m not ashamed.

When questioned about it by a friend who really could not see the attraction, I had to point to this fine article written by Tim Jonze in The Guardian who spells out quite well what grabbed me when I watched the video- a sense of presence.

In his words,

The eye contact. The sincere chest thumping. The limbo dancing right at the end, which comes straight after that stomach-churning, guttural roar.The whole thing is strangely unsettling, incredibly moving and brave enough to risk teetering to the very brink of out-and-out hilarity without quite falling off the edge. In doing so it left me reeling and wondering why other singers don’t put this much effort into carving out a stage persona that’s truly their own.

The synth pop sound, pounding drums, mixed with a pumping bass line all serve as the platter upon which front man, Samuel T. Herris serves up what amounts to a visual, vocal, and sensual feast. I’m sold, and given the exuberant response of David Letterman at the end of the clip, it seems I’m in good company.

This band is one to watch.

About the author

Angela Doll Carlson is a Chicago based writer, essayist and poet who, along with her brave husband, David, manages to parent four spirited and tenacious children with some measurable success. Her first book, "Nearly Orthodox: On being a modern woman in an ancient tradition" is out now at Ancient Faith Press. You can find more of her work on her blogs, and and her book at