Posted by: will | July 31, 2006

The Futureheads…

BEST NEW MUSIC

The Futureheads “News And Tributes” (Startime International/Vagrant)

Buy it at Insound!

There is bound to be a backlash for The Futureheads sophomore album, News And Tributes. The band has (gulp) matured and of course that means the music has suffered, right? Wrong, I’m a fan of bands maturing. Anybody can write fun off-the-wall music like what was found on The Futureheads debut album. Everything on News And Tributes is quite different though. The production is much more polished. The songwriting is ridiculously sharp. Lyrically, the band has matured a thousand times over.

The huge sounding “Yes/No” starts the album off in strong fashion. The song is truly infectious with its call and response vocals of yes and no leading the way. “Fallout” and “Skip To The End” are probably the catchiest songs the band has written yet. “Fallout” sounds like a poppier version of The Clash. “Fallout” starts out with some handclaps before the lyrics kick in If we have to fall out we should fall out together. The chorus of After days in the dark/light broke through/and it was difficult to see you has a way of burrowing into your head. “Skip To The End” is the album’s first single and it’s easy to see why. The song is seemingly about being able to see where a beginning of a relationship may be headed. Who wouldn’t want to know whether that path leads to a happy ending or a broken heart like the song asks? “Burnt” is the first look at the more atmospheric side of The Futureheads. The song boast the lyrics Got burnt, third degrees/Never learnt my lesson/But forgive me please/Nothing lasts forever and nothing is free/Please remember to let me down gently. Many of the songs on News And Tributes are much more personal and reflective than their debut. The sad title track “News And Tributes” is a moving tribute to the 1958 Manchester United soccer team which was tragically cut down by a plane crash. “The Return Of The Beserker” is the album’s lone misstep. It’s a distorted rocker of a song that would have fit in on the band’s debut album but it simply causes News And Tributes to lose its tight flow for a short bit. The band rebounds to finish the album off in fine fashion. “Favours For Favours” has a great Bloc Party feel to it. “Thursday” has a fantastic oldies vibe running through the song. Album closer “Faces” ends things on a high. The song starts off with just vocals and acoustic guitar before all the instruments jump in to compete for your attention. The hectic ending shows that The Futureheads still have that same wild spirit that captivated listeners on the band’s debut. The four track Area EP is included as a bonus to News And Tributes. It’s an excellent bridge between the band’s two albums. Just a cherry on top to an already fabulous album.

What The Futureheads have done on News And Tributes is nothing short of miraculous. There are not many bands that play the angular, yet catchy, post-punk style much better than this band. The growth from album one to two is incredible. I truly hope that all the old fans will have an open mind and come along for the ride. I have a feeling The Futureheads are just getting started!

RIYL: The Clash, Bloc Party, The Jam

Listen: The Futureheads – Fallout (mp3)

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