Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Foreign Islands @ Luna Lounge, June 14th, 2007

This is a live review I wrote for Loose Record. You can see it there, or just read it below:

Ah, the lovely Foreign Islands… No, I’m not talking about some vague tropical scene that undoubtedly crossed your mind when I wrote those words. I’m talking about an electro-punk band from Brooklyn that I saw last night at the spacious new Luna Lounge in Williamsburg. Luckily, this band sounds nothing like the lazy, steel drum music that their name-sake implies. In fact, their songs would be more at home in some sort of sweaty island dance party in between tracks by Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand.

Now, I knew nothing about this band before the show, except what I heard on their MySpace page. But it says something about those 3 songs, if they motivated me enough to go see their live show without any further kind of recommendation. Unfortunately, the set I saw was cut short by a computer malfunction after 5 songs. Apparently their “bass player,” (which is the affectionate term they call their laptop computer) got drunk at the bar before the show (ie. Crashed in the middle of their set) and they couldn’t recover from this loss.

Yes, for better or worse, they play synched up to a laptop, so all the bells and whistles on their record (of which there are many) are right where you expect them to be in the live show. Sometimes when bands do this it comes across as a little too prefabricated for my taste, with not enough raw energy or improvisation for me to enjoy the live show (hey, if I wanted to hear an exact version of the album, I wouldn’t pay $8 bucks to see it in a poorly lit club at high volume). But thankfully Foreign Islands produce the majority of their sound through good old-fashioned guitar amplifiers and a kick-ass drummer (there is an old saying: that a rock band is only as good as its drummer, which, in this case, Foreign Islands should have a promising future). Not that the singer or two guitarists are lacking in any sense. I mean you gotta love those high speed dueling guitar riffs. Overall, the band had an energy and musicianship that was fun, enthusiastic and effortless. They’re definitely worth checking out if you’re into LCD Soundsystem, or just a fan of up-tempo anthem electro-rock music. I just hope next time their laptop can keep up.

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