In the music scene today, there may be no band that sounds like it's having more fun than the Futureheads. Their bouncy dancepunk tunes are catchy, gritty-edged, danceable -- and above all, the guys sound like they're having a absolutely glorious time.
A pal of mine went to a Futureheads concert and confided that the crowd didn't move at all. That's hard to imagine -- after a mild buildup of vocal harmonies and guitar riffs, the catchiness kicks in with the rapid-fire percussion. "And I won't say what if it's true/Le garage (le garage-RAGE!)" the guys shout in the opener.
Things don't die down after that, from the Devo-esque "Robot" to the heavy-guitar, dadaesque "Man Ray." Not that everything is all the same -- the Futureheads are one of the few rock bands who don't rely on the same riffs and beats to achieve catchiness. They manage different kinds of catchiness -- herky-jerky, relentless, fragmented and poppy.
The only exception is "Danger of the Water," a song that is almost a capella, with Barry Hynde solemnly singing, as his bandmates chant "do do, do do" in the background. Okay, there's a tiny keyboard melody, but it's almost indiscernable -- and it's surprisingly entrancing when the song builds up to a tense climax ("Danger... water/Danger... water!"), followed by a yell from Hynde. Only imagine what happens next.
Despite comparisons to Franz Ferdinand, the Futureheads smack more of Devo-and-XTX-meets-the-Ramones. The jangly guitars, solid drums and bass are all wonderfully assured, but the vocal harmonies are the really good stuff. Hynde does most of the singing, but the other guys weave in and out without a single sonic burp.
Sure, it's not perfect. But the energy and fun of the Futureheads' debut can't be denied. A solid, fun, catchy dancepunk album.