The Orc and Crab - A life worth of research

28 Nov 2016


I was introduced to Future Islands by a co-worker. Their particular brand of chilled synth-filled hits provided a great backdrop to a tonne of emails and QA work, not far from our usual a e s t h e t i c driven vapourwave tunes. I thanked my co-worker, went home, and barely gave the album a second thought.

That's when my co-worker returned with one of the strangest videos I have ever seen. A video that is so perplexing, that I have made it my life mission to research the phenomenon I have dubbed "Orc and Crab". This strange ritual is only viewed in very particular settings, when the lights are just right, the bass is pumping, and when the band is performing the song "Seasons" live. Before I reveal my staggering findings, I would like to share with you the song in question.

A strange clip, but the song is buttery smooth. The song tells the tale of a stale relationship, and while the seasons change around them, one of the participants in the relationship is hanging on to hope that the other will change, even changing their ways just to please the other. This is something many can relate to, myself included. Saumuel T. Herring's vocals are warm, soothing, yet strangely haunting. This was the breakthrough single for the band, the one that took Future Islands from small-time Baltimore band into the stratosphere. Pitchfork Media even named it their song of the year, 2014.

Their first live TV performance was on David Letterman in March, 2014. It was the first known documentation of the "Orc and Crab".

The face of Satan has appeared, and sweet Lucifer is here to take all of our souls. Those bootscooting moves partnered with the stare of a thousand broken souls during the line "people change, you know but some people never do", is enough to bring even the most harderened coal miner to a blubbering mess. But it's the Orc jowls, the crab walk, and Lucifer let's out a terrifying scream as he utters "I'VE BEEN HANGING ON YOU" that haunts my every waking moment of existance.

So I started searching. Was this a one off? Did Samuel T. Herring sell his soul for the opportunity to perform on Letterman live? Did he make a deal with the devil on the crossroads of Mississippi and Florida? That's when I found this:

The crab walk has evovled into a slow trawl, like a wilderbeast that is forever sucking a spilled drink from the countertop through their strange mouth-hole. He's getting lower, and lower, and more confident in his skills. WHen Lucifer makes his appearance apparent, he's doing so with a sly smile, enjoying the fact that we all know his existance is true.

Perhaps the most haunint documentation of the "Orc and Crab" can be seen in this video however:

New Years Eve, live television in the UK. Herring spends so much time getting low, anyone would think that he was trying to clam slam the entire universe at once. The rough and desheveled appearance indicates that he's had no rest, that his tortured soul has been fighting hard before giving into the power of evil. He stares at a woman off-set for an uncomfortable amount of time. Then, as a final fuck you to the world on the last day of the year, Herring becomes a vessel of true evil, much like Linda Blair or Donald Trump, spewing forth the metaphorical green pea soup of "I'VE BEEN HANGING ON YOU". His body slumps, but Herring fights to stay on his feet and finish the song. The amount of pain this brave warrior must have endured is unfathomable.

I think perhaps my favourite thing about this clip however, is the face of the bass player. Look, just before the line is delivered. He winces in boredom, or perhaps he is entering a fugue in order to just keep surviving at live.

Until the end of time, I will continue to research the "Orc and Crab", but I think my research has proven that Future Islands are the gatekeepers to Hell, and without them, we would all be doomed.