Sunderland so good they named it once. Previously the exclusive spiritual domain of the ghost of Leatherface currently haunted by the rising spectre that is: The Futureheads. Allegedly formed with the express intention of writing a bunch of effective pop songs played on guitars without solos how punk rock is that?
“The Futureheads” (679 Recordings) landed in the tMx bunker in late June - & blew the fucking roof right off. A growing underground buzz & a handful of stunning 45s had already set our collective pulses racing but really, we had absolutely no idea how fucking excellent “The Futureheads” would turn out to be. Take the vocal sensibilities of a young XTC - add the gtrs of a nascent Jam & the pure pop sus of The Monochrome Set - & y’re nowhere near. Produced by The Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill - “The Futureheads” sounds like the future already - & it’s late.
In an ocean of US-sound-a-likes - The Futureheads are resolutely English. Their regional accents & eccentric arrangements are ample proof of their innate cleverness. The Futureheads may even usher thinking back into fashion.
“The Futureheads” establishes itself in your aorta with the effectiveness of a boiling kettle poured onto an ice cube i.e. - it melts your heart on first listen. “Le Garage” kicks off proceedings in typically spikey fashion. “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit”, goes the pivotal refrain. Who could they be referring to? “Robot” deconstructs The Jam & regurgitates it as something that would probably make (not so) poor old Paul Weller quite ill (what a warming thought). “A to B” even reminds us of the Ideal Husbands (calm down at the back, Laycock!). “Decent Days & Nights” rocks the angular crap out of another superbly adaptable riff packed to the gills with wonderfully emotive harmony this shit makes every other ‘best new band in the country right now’ group sound like The Strokes (I thought you had to sound like The Storkes to get a deal? Legal Ed.). “Meantime” keeps the pressure right up to 11 power, melody & humour who else can we write that about today? “Alms” flys the flag for Andy Partridge & the boys single handedly reminding us of the enduring legacy of Swindon’s finest. “Danger Of The Water” is a cautionary four part harmony wrapped around a lone electric piano that divides the CD into two distinctive halves rather like people used to do with LPs (you know, 5/6 songs on either side, everyone a gem, no filler, builds to a crescendo by the final track you remember, don’t you?).
“The City Is Here For You To Use” returns the tempo to ‘full on’ soundclash. “First Day” deals with the work ethic on a refreshing level nice to hear young people moaning about the minimum wage, fat cat employers & the utter futility of the ‘rat race’ for a change. “He Knows” mangles the fuck out of the pretenders currently being foisted in yr general direction simply by merit of brilliance. “Stupid & Shallow” is apparently self critical all Beefheartian time signatures & a wonderful electro-“lead”-break I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of The Futureheads if I were you.
“The Futureheads” was delayed from its original release date so the group could add their bollockingly bouncy cover of Kate Bush’s “The Hounds Of Love” to the LP. Why? Because their fans were being ripped off for very expensive copies of this limited xmas release - & The Futureheads don’t go out like that.
We’ve heard a lot about art school rock n roll this year. We’ve heard a lot about Franz Ferdinand. Whatever it is you’ve heard disregard it all. Go buy “The Futureheads”. It’s time to start all over again.
Harrison Bored tMx 16 8/04