14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional debut, better than most bands' best of albums,
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This review is from: The Futureheads (Audio CD)
This album is absolutely stunning, almost as good as seeing one of this band's stonking live shows. The Futureheads have their basic roots in guitar-based indie/alternative music, with a strong punk feel and attitude. But that's just the starting point. They have a wide variety of musical influences which they wrap up in a tight bundle of stomping tunes, crashing instruments and vocal harmonies. All four band members sing, but not necessarily the same things at the same time. They punctuate songs with delirious vocals, whip-smart guitar, bass and drums and dizzying changes in pace, intensity or even tune whenever they feel like it. But they always carry you along with them wherever they go. They somehow combine the best punky singalongability (is that a word?) with real depth and experiments in sound.
There is not a weak track on this album. There is also nothing longer than about three minutes on the album either. In true punk style they strip away the unnecessary guitar breaks, chorus repeats and twiddly bits other bands use as padding, leaving two to three minutes of perfectly formed song. But there is nothing basic here. They fill every second of their songs with meaty hooks, melodies of all kinds as well as superb vocals, from straight singing to whatever shouts and noises they can pack in to a spare second. Two or even three tunes, some of which don't sound like they should work in a song, often vie for space in one track, all under the complete control of this talented foursome. Some songs have so much going on that you can't believe only two and a half minutes have elapsed by the time they finish, but they are all put seamlessly together.
It's hard to believe this is their debut album because it sounds like a best of, from infectious stompalong anthems like Decent Days and Nights (released July 26th as a single), brooding powerhouse tracks like Manray, the melodic but edgy Meantime and the fragile beauty of Danger of the Water. That's not to mention their stunning punk reimagining of Kate Bush's classic Hounds of Love with four voices acting almost like an orchestra over scuzzy guitars. There's at least eight songs on here that most bands would have as their flagship single to put them on the map, and the other tracks would still stand out on most people's records, they just have the courage to explore other, often murkier waters.
This album has got everything - immediate tunes, songs that grow on you, varied moods and pace, and it definitely rewards repeated listening. You can sing along and just enjoy 15 killer tracks or you can really listen, and you will be repaid with thoughtful lyrics and themes and all kinds of hidden depths in the music. The Futureheads deserve to be the biggest band in the world, but whatever else, they are certainly the most exciting act to arrive in a very long time.