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    The Futureheads

    news and tributes the futureheads this is not the world

    The Futureheads( 2004 )
    Le Garage / Robot / A To B / Decent Days And Nights / Meantime / Alms / Danger Of The Water / Carnival Kids / The City Is Here For You To Use / First Day / He Knows / Stupid And Shallo / Trying Not To Think About Time / Hounds Of Love / Man Ray

    Put Franz Ferdinand, The Jam and early XTC into a blender, take out the contents. Place the contents into a snazzy looking beaker with stripes down the side and leave to rest. Empty contents into a venue near Sunderland and you have The Futureheads. So, another post-punk New Wave type of outfit, yet Futureheads have an intelligence burning underneath their songs. It seems that the barest of ideas have been honed cleverly into a melting pot and out comes fine, brief and energetic angular guitar pop. Pop rather than rock and there's a key difference with The Futureheads. To my mind, they're a pop band rather than a rock group. Sure, they create a racket, but it's always melodic and it's always controlled. They're a band with actual backing vocals and could probably enter a barbershop quartet competition and not do too badly. Well, it helps them do the 'oooh, ah, ohhh' bits required in their cover of Kate Bush's 'Hounds Of Love'. Listen to the beginning of 'Danger Of The Water' and learn the guys can sing quite well when they put their minds to it. Not something you can say about every band of this type. Futureheads you see don't hide behind the noise they create. The songs are thrust in full view, naked for the world to see. There's no distortion, their guitar lines are very clean. Well, 'Danger Of The Water' is entirely vocal, no instruments at all. The melody is there and I like this. It's a shame the album is slightly one dimensional apart from 'Danger Of The Water' and the spirited version of 'Hounds Of Love'. Still, 'Decent Days And Nights' and 'Meantime' are both so good they could be on XTC's 'Drums And Wires' and you'd say they would be worthy to be on that album.

    Highlights apart from the aforementioned? 'First Day' is wonderful with 'aaahhhh' vocal segments and a stop/start nature without the stops. The song speeds up towards a gloriously controlled noisy ending. 'A To B' is fairly anthemic and opener 'La Garage' immensely addictive. What else can I say? Well, not a lot. The first Jam album was one-dimensional and they went onto become one of the most beloved groups in British history, can the same happen to The Futureheads? Well, next time around I suspect we'll already be looking to another band, such is the fickle fate of new bands these days. So, for the record this album is short enough to be addictive for brief periods of time without ever out-staying it's welcome.

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    top of page News And Tributes 8 ( 2006 )
    Yes-No / Cope / Fallout / Skip To The End / Burnt / News And Tributes / The Return of the Berserker / Back to the Sea / Worry About It Later / Favours for Favours / Thursday / Face

    Yes, it's The Futureheads much maligned second album, the one everybody now writes off. Well, the record label dropped them, you see? They didn't have another hit with a Kate Bush cover, you see. All quite sensible things (?) from a record label perspective. The reviews were only lukewarm, reviewers expecting another dose of the same. In actual fact, 'News And Tributes' is a clear progression from the groups debut. It adds other dimensions to The Futureheads sound, hence, not every song here goes down that jerky, new-wave-XTC route. Is that a good thing? Well, of course it is, unless you're a fan of of Kasabian, Kasier Cheifs, etc. Why them? Well, why not? I was watching one of the festivals on TV, 'ruby, ruby, ruby, ruby, ruby!' they sang, again and again. Surely better than Futureheads? Well, they sell more, don't they? Lot's of questions then and no answers as to why 'News And Tributes' has been shunned. Well, let's look at the evidence. The album takes a little while to get going, at least, on a first listen. Although Futureheads make lots of noise tracks one through to four, there's a sense of style over substance. Great style, mind you - they sound better than before, at least, in terms of performance. Repeated listens etches the album in your mind and there's a reason - a song such as 'Burnt' would never have appeared on their debut. It blows hot and cold, quite deliberately so, and ditches the all out thrash. Something else is happening. The first four tracks, enjoyable as they are, appear to be like a bad flu they had to get out of their system. Suddenly we have thoughtful arrangements and dynamics. Well, the title track falls down and 'Return Of The Berserker' is strange to say the least.

    Side one? Mainly average to good pop/rock, about the same level as their debut, albeit without the hits. Well, 'Fall Out' is the gem so far, a thoroughly great song with hard bits and soft bits and catchiness abounding. Score so far? About a 7/10, a slight step down overall, assuming the second half of the album is about the same as the first. Of course, I know that it isn't. I know the second half of 'News And Tributes' is better than anything else Futureheads have done. I'm writing having heard although not yet reviewed ( as of 1st June 2008 ) their third LP. So, 'Back To The Sea' and 'Worry About It Later' solidly build upon the first half of the LP. 'Favours For Favours' manages to be their finest song to date, better than anything their debut presented. Yes, it's back to old jerky XTC style, but what style! A chorus of pop gold, much energy and as good as the best new-wave in the early eighties. 'Thursday' switches to very soft mode, almost Cureish. Reminds me of summer turning into Autumn, it's kind of world weary in the best way songs ever are. I mean, the album as a whole sounds great in the summer and the closing 'Face' joins 'Burnt' and 'Favours For Favours' in being a bit of a stunner. 'Face' sees fit to switch from acoustic to build to a gloriously controlled melodic noisy bang and back again. If this ( News And Tributes ) had been Futureheads final release, i'd have been upset. Not because the album isn't any good, but because this is the kind of sophomore album sophomore albums are supposed to be. Build on your strengths where possible at hint at possible futures. This isn't meant to be their defining statement and nor should it be taken as such.

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    top of page This Is Not The World( 2008 )
    Beginning Of The Twist / Walking Backwards / Think Tonight / Radio Heart / This Is Not The World / Sale Of The Century / Hard To Bear / Work Is Never Done / Broke Up The Time / Everything's Changing Today / Sleet / See What You Want

    The Futureheads return with their third LP, on their own label. 'Everything's Changing Today' must be an ironic song title however as 'This Is Not The World' sees retreat rather than change, The Futureheads returning to the sound of their debut, albeit in a somewhat rawer format. Gone are the interesting, fascinating diversions of their 2nd LP to be placed by a selection of songs all much of a muchness in terms of style. It makes for a rather one-dimensional listen but The Futureheads still have enough talent to release a few songs that are exceptional. 'Walking Backwards' is one of them, The Futureheads attacking their material with a renewed energy the threatens to blast your speakers apart - the chorus is diamonds and gold and why isn't this a hit? In a similiar vein is 'The Beginning Of The Twist' which basically is very noisy, passionate and all statements of intent. We're gonna blow your speakers off, say Futureheads? Well, unfortunately it leaves everything crowded with noise and very little seperation. Basically, the album often gives me a headache and that can't be good, can it? Still, 'Radio Heart' was another nod towards trying to have a single that gained actual airplay, a decent tune although too much verse to chorus ratio here spoils the show, like getting drunk and being unable to perform.

    'Sale Of The Century' enjoyably jerks and had some fizz about it. 'This Is Not The World' is arguably the very best song on the record - it comes and rattles along before exploding in a joy of release. After a reasonable first half of an album it's upsetting then that nearly all of the 2nd half is a big anti-climax with very few memorable tunes. Indeed, too much of the 2nd half is mere wank. You can see where i've been going with this, can't you?

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    this page last updated 19/07/08

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