Futureheads -‘Rant’ (Nul)
The Futureheads aren’t daft. Five albums and nearly ten years into their career, they’re aware -probably all too painfully so-that the majority of people remember them for their cover of Kate Bush’s ‘the Hounds Of Love.’ But the thing is: they put their own spin on it. And one of the most electrifying things about that was the opening which was completely a capella.
As indeed is this album. Entirely a capella, if you haven’t yet caught on. See, the things is that The Futureheads have got on with creating their own brilliant strand of guitar pop even if the fickle finger of fatal fame (it can play hideous tricks on the brain) may not have them currently in the spotlight. Though the prospect of an album of reworkings of older songs of their own and cover versions may often smack of at best a ‘holding operation’ and at worst ‘seriously run out of ideas’ the concept here works.
So as well as takes on tracks like ‘Meantime’ ‘Robot’ and ‘Man Ray’ they also offer up seriously different takes on other songs. Including covers of The Black Eyes Peas (‘Meet Me Halfway’), The Sparks (‘Number One Song In Heaven’) and Kelis’ umm, ‘A capella’), and some traditional numbers ‘Summer Is Icumen In’ (yes, the one from The Wicker Man) and ‘The Keeper.’
Forty minutes of a capella can seem a real shock when you’re not necessarily used to it (and let’s face it, most of us aren’t). But as a concept, it’s unusual. As an album, it actually works. Sure I love them with guitar and drums. But there’s something brilliant about doing this -a sure sign that they’re happier putting out stuff on their own label, I cannot see a major ever having agreed to this- and it’s a joy. Whether people will cherry pick tracks is another matter. But this album should be heard-and bought in its entirety.
Rant is out now on Nul Recordings.