Friday, June 27, 2008

Listening to: The Futureheads "This Is Not The World"

It's sad, but, at first, the only way that I could enjoy the Futureheads' latest was by pretending that it was the product of an entirely different band from the one that produced their eponymous debut, which was probably one of my favorite albums of the last ten years. And sure enough, by means of that little bit of self-deception, I came to take great pleasure in the hard-driving, faultlessly melodic guitar pop that This Is Not The World presents. In fact, if terse songwriting with shout-along refrains and ear tickling harmonies played with all the angst-driven haste of a man on fire running toward a well is your cup of tea, you really couldn't do much better than this album.

Funny thing is, though, that after listening to the record for a while under the pretense that it was by some new band called The Sutureheads, or the Futurehoods, or something, I began to think, "Hey, this sounds a lot like The Futureheads." Because, on close listening, it turns out that among all of those four/four rhythms and anthemic, eighth-note-riding choruses lie touches of the same controlled dissonance and quirky turns of phrase -- both lyrical and musical -- that distinguished the band's debut. Even some of their much-touted "angularity" pops up in the stabbing, stop-start cadences of tracks like "Broke Up The Time" and "Everything's Changing Today". And, of course, there are also those distinctive Sunderland accents of theirs, which make it pretty hard to hear them as being anyone else (even though, admittedly, they also make them sound a bit like The Proclaimers on "Hard to Bear", the album's only relatively down-tempo track).

So the fact is that The Futureheads that gave us gems of infectious spaz-pop like "Decent Days and Nights" are not gone, only hiding. Fortunately for us, what they're hiding in is a pretty great little pop album.

Video: The Futureheads "Radio Heart"

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