The Futureheads - News And Tributes
Reviewed by Josh on 19th May 2006
One of my weakness' as a music lover is an unquenchable desire for analogy and comparison. When I look out at the music indie kids are buying in droves these days its hard not to hack back a decade to 1996, say Arctic Monkeys are wrestling the Oasis "band of the people crowd" away from the monobrow mancs and the Kaiser Chiefs exist as a pound stretcher Blur. I could carry on in not that fascinating length but when I think of The Futureheads the parallel with a decade ago that always strikes me is that they occupy the same position the Super Furry Animals did back in the day. A wee bit too confusingly musically non-liner for the real mainstream end of indie despite the NME's rabid championing and too mainstream and chipper for the post rock loving beard scratches of the underground.
Indeed the success of the well done yet wearyingly over-exposed Kate Bush cover Hounds Of Love (by far the groups most successful release) puts our heroes at somewhat of a cross roads, to move forward into alien territories or too attempt to solidify the major commercial success that just bypassed them last time round? Either road is a perilous one to tread. The "alternative" music market has never been so fickle and ruthless. How many groups in the last five years have been hyped as the second coming only to be forgotten when the second album fails to go multi-platinum? So I'm pleased to say the Futureheads second album takes a direction free from contrivances and suggests they are here for the artistic long haul. A progression from the first album that seems entirely natural, organic and removed from this age of hype and bluff.
The album is best described as "metallic" that is it brings to mind, something molded from scrap metal rather then a old Maiden LP! Solider, somewhat less playful sounds then their debuts feel good brain candy. Occasionally the noise even resembles noisenik legends Big Black (Return Of The Berserker) Yet thankfully unlike Albini and co, the Sunderland foursome enjoy melody and song structure as much as they relish in noise and ragged soundscapes. The single Skip To The End and Fallout despite the clipped robotic intonation and phrasing hit on a real emotional vain while making you sing along with their flighty inviting melodies; the yardstick of all great pop.
This record is unlikely to turn the earth off its axis (well bands haven't tried for that for quite sometime so you could never begrudge them that) occasional the albums more conventional arrangements may make you hanker for the all-over-the-place madcap harmonizing of the s/t debut. However on the evidence displayed here; The Futureheads still truly are the diamonds in the rough of modern mainstream indie.
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