Darkstar – Foam Island

10 30 2015 Darkstar - Foam Island

I had no clue what to think when I put this album in and hit play. Darkstar, an electronic duo based in the UK, start their newest album “Foam Island” with looped statements, segments taken from interviews conducted and recorded by the artists themselves. “… kindness and honesty. Just… basic things.” says one of the interviewees, likely reflecting on relationships and the state of life in North Yorkshire, where the interviews took place.

The melancholy vocals interact with the upbeat, almost poppy melodies and help Darkstar build a facade to mask all problems, a parody and commentary on the state of government affairs in the UK. “Youth is too proud to strike a balance/the hold of fate has swung”, a dark lyric from “Stoke The Fire” which then fades into “Cuts”, a song featuring a spokesperson tasked with positively spinning budget cuts.

Sadness persists throughout the album, through the instrumental “Tilly’s Theme” and the last track “Days Burn Blue”. Evocative imagery and heartfelt responses from the interviewees are littered throughout the entire album, contributing to the atmosphere of vibrant people with deep feelings being painted onto a gray background. The insert that came with the promotional copy of the CD also contributes to that atmosphere by featuring portraits of distinctly UK individuals.

This album reminds me of the latest Silicon release “Personal Computer” which I also reviewed, so if you liked that then I definitely recommend this. I would also challenge anyone who isn’t necessarily into electronic music to give this a shot, as it has shoegaze, pop and punk influences. As an aside, I am asking all readers and KRUA listeners to send me a list of albums that have had significant influence in their lives, and you can send those lists to uaa_krua9@uaa.alaska.edu (make the lists as long or as short as you’d like).

Rating: 4/5

Track Listing:

  1. Basic Things
  2. Inherent In The Fibre
  3. Stoke The Fire
  4. Cuts
  5. Go Natural
  6. A Different Kind Of Struggle
  7. Pin Secure
  8. Through The Motions
  9. Tilly’s Theme
  10. Foam Island
  11. Javan’s Call
  12. Days Burn Blue

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