Say the word "synthpop" to the average person with a working knowledge of both synthesizers and pop music and they'll likely recoil in horror as they are deluged with harrowing visions of either Hellogoodbye or Metronomy.
Thankfully, it's a very broad genre tag and likely prone to misapplications a-go-go. So while Future Islands do fulfil the two basic requirements of the brand, they skew more into the 80's post-punk/new-wave market complete with perpetually-held notes, sweeping swathes of reverberation and vocals not unlike the mumbled drawl of Stellastarr* and their contemporaries.
Now signed to forward-thinking label Thrill Jockey (the company let you listen to every track of every album they've released free-of-charge, before you buy), this marks their first full-length for them and it shows no signs of the (now three-member) band pandering to the 'hipster' crowds. Unlike, say, The Raveonettes, who take similar influences and distort them through the prism of modern art, this is pure retro breeziness. The album could be a call-to-arms for the resurgence of the Third Reich (which, oddly enough, it sounds distinctly like on "An Apology"), but it's delivered so lightly, so deftly and so softly that it just swirls into thirty-six minutes of sublime musical fogginess.
To some, this could be construed as a bad thing, to others, good. Future Islands are a band with no pretences. They love their twentieth-century influences and adhere to them strictly, not letting the poison of the nineties, or noughties seep into their love-letter to Reagan-era America. If you can accept them for that and enjoy an album with no ambition but that to entertain through Aero-light fluffiness, then you may have found another great way to spend the hours of your life.
If not, feel free to move along and let the rest of us lie back and enjoy the breeze.