If I told you that Canada's Future States sounded remarkably like Younghusband and Talk Talk on their debut full-length, Casual Listener, out Friday on Golden Brown, you should read that statement as a pretty strong endorsement. The band here make music that is supple and lyrical and full of joy for a listener.
On "Apostolic" the music of Future States nods in the direction of the indie traditions of both The High Llamas and The Beta Band. What ensues on tracks like this is a sort of light, ruminative take on the sort of music pursued by those acts and a few others. Airy keyboard figures run through the background of this cut as the vocals ease a listener's ears. On "Lulu" and "You've Got It All Wrong", Future States hit at something effortless and nimble. This is catchy, bright indie that is a less arch take on the sort of thing early Talking Heads records were attempting. If there's a sameness to some of these Future States tracks, a listener cannot complain when the results are this enticing. Elsewhere, on "Wish You Well", Future States offer up something that wouldn't have sounded out of place on 4AD at some points in the past, the production full of depth and space for the myriad guitar effects at work. This all-too-brief album closes on "Sudo Su", all hushed Durutti Column chords and gentle electronic textures.
Future States have made something special in Casual Listener. At their best, they recall The Blue Nile, China Crisis, and a whole raft of acts that once offered layered indie of the very best sort. Melodies here dominant the cuts and, as a result, things are concise and focused. Other acts would probably get lost in the studio wizardry that surrounds this sort of material but Future States manage to keep things simple but fairly interesting throughout.
[Photo: Uncredited Promo Picture]