On the Water - Future Islands
On the Water Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: Produced by Chester Endersby Gwazda, the second album for the trio features cello, marimba, and violin instrumentation.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Oct 11, 2011
    The record is sweetly evocative, swathed in meditative rhythms and lighthearted melodies.
  2. Oct 10, 2011
    Now, on On the Water, they've paced themselves, slowed down the tempos, and left room for ambience, such that the album's fevered points hit much more poignantly.
  3. Oct 10, 2011
    Water is leagues more mature than last year's In Evening Air--the production more robust, the lyrics more evocative of people who've been around long enough to know what's worth lamenting.
  4. Nov 8, 2011
    It's heavy stuff, and there is a real rawness at the heart of standouts Where I Found You, Before The Bridge, Give Us The Wind and The Great Fire - all a little hard to swallow at first, but ultimately quite remarkable. [Nov. 2011, p. 128]
  5. Oct 10, 2011
    Though treading familiar sonic and thematic waters at the start, On the Water really comes alive midway through.
  6. Nov 17, 2011
    On The Water relies less on the vocals than its predecessor. The music is more robust, adding more layers than the minimalism of before.
  7. Oct 18, 2011
    The Trio's third album is similarly, unconventionally earnest, often doing for the New Romantics when Gayngs did for 10cc. [Nov 2011, p.84]

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. May 30, 2013
    In between listening to the first album from Future Islands and this endeavor, I had the privilege of attending one of their concerts. I was blown away by the passion and intimacy of the performance (especially by Samuel T. Herring). I was able to meet all of the band members, which created a more concrete bond between me and their music.

    They were already my favorite band of all time by then, of course, but this album further solidified my opinion. Amidst rumors that "On the Water" was going to be a slower-paced version of "In Evening Air," I was a bit hesitant that I'd like it as much. Fortunately, it was more finely tuned, personal and optimistic than I anticipated. It's hard to pick a favorite song, but mine are probably "Balance," "Before the Bridge" and "Give Us the Wind" (though "Where I Found You" is equally as impressive and heart-crushing).

    I often go back and listen to some of the earlier Future Islands and Art Lord records, but when I listen to one of the songs from this album again, it reminds me how finely tuned their music is now. I can't wait for the next one.
  2. Nov 7, 2011
    Future islands is hands down my favorite band of 2011. Lead singer Sam Herring's voice is amazing, it regularly reminds me of the cowardly lion (but in a good way). As a child of the eighties any band that labels itself post wave is a-ok in my book. Give them a listen! Expand
  3. Oct 13, 2011
    Future Islands is definitively one of the best live bands I have seen recently, and "On the Water" is an amazing album that finally captures their spirit. I just wish "In Evening Air" would have been recorded in the same quality. Collapse
  4. Oct 14, 2011
    Really enjoyable album, it may have staled a bit on the 6th, 7th listen, but I enjoy more than "In Evening Air." The songs are more developed, and there's more variety here than it's predecessor. It seems like the vocals are not as strong as In Evening Air, but the music definitely compensates. I'ts more subdued, but more powerful IMO. Right now, in my top 5 albums of the year. I am not particularly 80's nostalgic, but the band feels a bit like New Order with a much better singer. Can't wait to see them live! Expand

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