As the British-born “new-rave” genre has begun to gain international notoriety, let us not overlook what has already been presented to us here in the United States. Just like fellow NYC’ers, The Strokes, and more recently, We Are Scientists, Foreign Islands appear destined to breakout in a big way, albeit over the British airwaves. With the title of reigning North American dance-punk champion vacated by the dissolution of Death From Above 1979, look no further than Foreign Islands in the search for a successor. They’ve already garnered acclaim from the notorious Brit-beacon NME and have developed a buzz among the NYC underground. Add to the indie cred bank the fact that the Foreign Islands’ sound predates the new-rave movement, and it seems unfathomable that the band’s greatness still hasn’t been realized on an epic level.
Ringleader Mark Ryan has all the makings of an iconic figure amongst the elite dance-rockers of the day, poised to go down in a blaze of glory. His off-the-wall bravado and matter-of-fact assertiveness permeates his punk-affected sing-songy vocals. What’s most invigorating about Foreign Islands is the fact that they aren’t shy in doling out their poignant opinions. According to Ryan, the band is admittedly “trying to kill that old music thing where like, dudes think they’re fucking way more awesome than they really are. We’re trying to kill like, shitty emo dude mythology.” Clearly, Foreign Islands are exempt from such philosophy. Much to the hipster’s delight, it’s not only emo that is under siege from Foreign Islands—banger du jour “We Know You Know It” is a blatant attack on the stereotype “toughies” of the hardcore scene, of whom most have grown tiresome.
The most lengthy glimpse of Foreign Islands to date, Restart Now, is packed with anthemic goodness, clocking in at just over a half hour. As a group Foreign Islands, seem to have limitless potential, possessing a strikingly cohesive sound even if their music is by most, skuzzy. Although the album houses a meager eight tracks (two of which are remixes), it is evident that Foreign Islands are on the cusp of brilliance. Every song has a stand-alone quality, making it a “pick your poison” affair of single-worthy tracks. What’s most telling of Foreign Islands is that they bring an immeasurable energy that comes off as effortless, an enviable quality to say the least.
Restart Now is a frenetic assault of snarling vocals, pulsing drums, timely guitar riffs, and otherwise party-inducing togetherness. Already amassing a following from their many Brooklyn shindigs, the band has started to garner a reputation as one of New York’s best live acts. Sure to be a hit amongst the blogger crowd, the future is bright for NYC’s Foreign Islands. With a refreshing sound, an unrivaled energy, and a dynamic frontman, the future has great things in store for these brash dance-punkers from Brooklyn. A promising start from a band that needs to be heard stat, Restart Now is a spazztastic outburst for lovers of the day-glo.