Future Islands made their triumphant return to the late-night circuit last night, debuting new single “Ran” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The stakes for the rising band were unusually high. Two years ago, the Baltimore trio’s Letterman set went viral, garnering the most YouTube views in the show’s history.
But Samuel T. Herring never disappoints. Bathed in red light, the effusive vocalist gazes upward like a distracted cherub in a button-down and jeans. Bassist William Cashion (repping Nice Price Book & Records store under his blazer) lays down the song’s simple arpeggio that rumbles below Gerrit Welmers’ keyboard.
That quixotic bass-keys combination defines the Future Islands sound. And if “Ran” is any indication, they’ve perfected the balance on their forthcoming album, The Far Field (out April 7th). The buoyant musicianship both informs and heightens Herring’s moves, which make sorrow look like it should qualify as an Olympic sport.
On ‘Fallon,’ Herring throws his right hook through the air, wildly wondering “how it feels when we fall, when we fold.” He testifies one moment and slaps his cheek hard in the next. Even Fallon seemed breathless. When the host walked onstage to shake Herring’s hand, it felt more like he was handing him a warm towel and life preserver.
Future Islands will perform main stage sets at Coachella, Panorama and Bonnaroo this year in addition to a massive U.S. tour.