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Mining the past with The Futureheads

The Futureheads

The Futureheads - The Futureheads
(679 Recordings)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Nov. 9, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Similar to a few other new bands today that are looking a decade past the trendy act of miming late '70s groups (as witnessed by Interpol digging through Joy Division's tomb and The Strokes tuning into the NYC punk band Television for inspiration), the U.K. act The Futureheads have borrowed the new wave sounds of the 1980s for their self-titled debut while also adding a spastic, comical sense of urgency to it.
Co-produced by Gang Of Four's Andy Gill and Paul Epworth (soundman for The Liars, The Rapture and The Kills) the result of this 36 minute, 15-song album comes off clean, uncluttered and direct, which helps keep the focus on the frantic, spunky nature of this odd quartet's music.
With smile-inducing, guttural a cappella vocal arrangements ("Le Garage" and "Danger of the Water"), herky-jerky guitars, pressing rhythms and quirky call-and-response lead vocals ("Carnival Kids" and "Robot") this band is purposely avoiding any references to '70s punk and '90s Britpop, as they instead prefer to wallow in the over-the-top excesses of 1980s post-punk new wave. But somehow they actually emerge unscathed with a sound that conjures up the image of Devo and Big Country lunging from the starting blocks for Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks race.
Even when these youngsters (their average age is 20) cover Kate Bush's 1985 gem "Hounds of Love" they successfully manage to update it with jangly guitars, punchy percussions and irresistible dork-wad a cappella moans that are near impossible for anyone with a sense of humor to deny.
Despite the fact that this stuff may not have an extended shelf-life, it sure sounds fresh, not to mention fun, today. So eat it up while you can.

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