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.
I have already blogged about how awesome How To Swim’s latest album Retina is (check it out here) and an earlier Christmas song of theirs here. However, at the end of this week, How To Swim will be unleashing a free EP, entitled Santa Has All The Best Tunes, from which they have made the following available to download already:
The last decade seemed to throw up so many bands who promised much with their first album, great live shows…yet by the decade seemed to have not quite amounted to what we had hoped.
The Futureheads did produce good, solid third albums, it’s just that the the second didn’t sell as well as their phenomenal first, so the third was them on their own again…so how come the Futureheads have delivered what is quite possiboy the best album by a British band so far this year?
Right from the opening bars of The Chaos, the Futureheads are clearly firing on all cylinders…and they keep it up to the very last second. I’ve played this album no less than three times today, and there’s no guarantee that I won’t do so again. there’s so many highlights here ‘Heartbeat Song’, ‘Sun Goes Down’ and the title track, that it seems hard to really pick standout tracks when they all stand so high.
Sure, it still sounds like the Futureheads -but that’s gotta be a good thing, right? Cos, quite frankly, this album is as addictive as a cheese and onion pasty from Greggs and with far less calories. I may be well into my thirties, but this album makes me want to pogo around the room, to tell complete strangers how good it is (to the girl who served me in Sainsbury’s earlier on when I had this on my headphones: sorry I didn’t give you my full attention).
The Futureheads indicated that they had much promise when I first heard them back in 2003 -and they are still more than just delivering the goods.
The Chaos is released on April 26 on Nul Recordings.
The Futureheads, Sunderland’s finest, will return with their fourth album in 2010, as yet untitled.
To celebrate this, they are giving away a rather fine track, entitled ‘Struck Dumb’ and it’s available to download right here.
I’ve long had a soft spot for The Futureheads. Indeed, I remember going to see them a a small show in Edinburgh at the now -departed Venue. It was poorly attended, but they played like fury, and I was pleased to see them assault the charts over the next few years. Though they had major label problems (is that a tautology in the music world these days?!) they have long since put that behind them and are still kicking a spectacular amount of butt. The band will be playing a tiny Christmas show on December 14th at The Lexington on Pentonville Road, which has now sold out. They are in Manchester on December 18 at Moho live.
The Futureheads – ‘Struck Dumb.’ mp3
Other songs they have given away for free over the years include these…
The Futureheads are not a band to let the grass grow beneath their feet. Having parted company with 679 recordings, their record label, they are striking out on their own and showing, as so many others have done before them, that you do not need to be on a major label (very pleased to hear that Radiohead have signed to Indie XL Recordings -This is a step in the right direction).
Via their website, they have made a new track available for free, called ‘Broke Up The Time.’ I’m playing it for the second time as I write this. You need to hear it. It’s excellent and should be on their third album next year.
Futureheads -‘Broke Up The Time.’ mp3
and for fun, seeing as it’s Friday, a couple of covers:
Futureheads -‘Hounds Of Love (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3
Have been trying to work out what songs remind me of Fopp, whether it was things that I bought there as a customer, or remember from working there.
Seven years of going makes it too hard to narrow it down that much, but this is a selection. As always, if you like what you hear, go and support your local shop, we do not need any more repeats of this.
Futureheads-‘Hounds Of Love.’ mp3
iLIKETRAINS-‘Spencer Perceval.’ mp3
Justice-‘Waters Of Nazareth.’ mp3
The View-‘Superstar Tradesman.’ mp3
It would be more but I am just about to exceed my bandwith, so more on this very soon! And yes, I may have posted these before, but hey…