Future Islands’ On The Water opens up with the clanking of wind chimes that bring a cool sea breeze the listener can feel on their face. From there, the track brings in ballad form with lamenting vocals. In contrast to the opening song, “Before The Bridge” pulls the listener into an underwater utopia with echoing tones that resemble whale calls bouncing off the ocean floor, augmented by a booming chorus. “Ocean” brings the listener back to surface just in time to end the first half of On The Water.
“Where I Found You” brings a tropical vibe to the release as well as highlights the narrator’s memories with a former love. Though the track starts and ends with the sound of waves crashing, “Balance” has a snappy and upbeat vibe to it while providing advice for the listener to dwell on. Starting off on a futuristic foot, “Tybee Island” eventually mellows out into a self-reflective tune that is the most emotional cut on On The Water. The album comes to a close with the same clanking of the wind chimes, cool ocean breeze and the feeling of leaving a blissful state and returning to reality in “Grease.”
Over all, On The Water takes the best of the ocean; from the breeze, to the sound of waves crashing upon the shore, and brings it to the listener, wherever they are.