After two critically acclaimed albums and a heap of other releases Darkstar are back with an intricate, emotionally driven collection of sounds and snippets, in an ambient look at disassociated youth in modern Britain. Foam Island is an eclectic mix of live percussion and complex, colourful synth lines, underscoring the feelings of those they encountered on the journey towards the album’s release.
Track by track the release is unnatural and even a little unlistenable, but as a whole composition it tells a story of apathy, political isolation and a general feeling of this life, not being what was expected; however alongside those themes runs the sentiment of hope and family. The oddments of speech that litter the album generate the feeling that you’re not listening to an album, but a soundtrack to a mundane yet personable film about the streets of Huddersfield.
Tracks such as ‘Cuts’, recorded in the weeks following the general election are unapologetic social messages set to tinkering beats that tell true stories of real hardship. Whalley’s voice is sympathetic, adding to the texture of each song just like another synth line and the melodies – when present – are reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s solo effort The Eraser. Early release single ‘Pin Secure’ is an interesting and compelling collection of noises carefully arranged into the most conventional sounding song on the album.
With Foam Island, Darkstar have succeeded in making an album that could only be from 2015 and paints a bright picture for the future of the ambient electro genre. Warp’s 2012 signing are proving their worth not only as artists but as social commentators, offering an insight into the true opinions of those with their feet on the ground whilst still creating beautiful music.
Maddy Hardman @