Futureheads – This Is Not The World
Having parted company with record label 679 Records (a Warner imprint) in 2006, the Futureheads third album is a self-released effort and sees the band continue to mine their familiar post-punk seam with mixed results.
As with their previous two efforts, they have unearthed one or two gems. In ‘Think Tonight’ they have produced a match for the fun Knackularity of breakthrough single ‘Decent Days And Nights’, while the opener, ‘Beginning of the Twist’, is a sing-a-long with all the grinning charm of their 2005 version of ‘Hounds of Love’ (surely the greatest North East, post-punk reimagination of a Kate Bush song this side of China Drum’s ‘Wuthering Heights’).
Equally, however, there are some stinkers. ‘Hard to Bear’ is a song whose title accurately reviews it – this overwrought, sixth-form ode to a friend suffering romantic loss sees face cringe and thumb reach for the skip button. ‘Broke Up The Time’ enjoys sharp riffs and energetic changes – things The Futureheads do as well as any – but the lyrics again jar and, with Barry Hyde’s eccentric delivery leaving dodgy words no hiding place, they ruin what could have been a stand-out track.
Perhaps the biggest shame is that ‘This Is Not The World’ does not see the band moving on at all. If anything, they may have lost one or two of the more intricate changes, riffs and harmonies that set them apart from their (often more successful) XfM-friendly peers. This is perhaps understandable given their movement from major-label backing to self-publishing and one hopes that the confidence marking their earlier releases soon returns.
That said, ‘This Is Not The World’ is a perfectly reasonable effort and will lose the Futureheads no fans. Nor, however, is it likely to convince any of the uninitiated to persist with one of the U.K.’s potentially most interesting pop bands.
Top Tracks: ‘The Beginning of the Twist’, ‘Think Tonight’, ‘Sale of the Century’
Released 25/05/08 on Nul Records