FUTUREHEADS – Futureheads (679 Recordings)

I am somewhat late in discovering the Futureheads, as without John Peel to guide me I assumed that they were a dance band. How wrong I was. Having belatedly heard their cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ and not being that impressed, at least it showed me that they were a proper guitar band, and so I investigated their album and was amazed at how good it is. To me they sound like a modern day XTC, with quirky songs, odd time signatures, and idiosyncratic vocals, but with great tunes hidden away in all the songs. Opener ‘Le Garage’ might sound a bit of a mess on first hearing, but it is a slow burner so hang in there, but ‘Robot’ is much more like it, with its opening riff nicked from the Clash and its more commercial attitude. By ‘Decent Days And Nights’ we have the first true classic of the album, a single so good they released it twice. ‘Alms’ brings together all of the band’s oddities, with jagged Gang Of Four guitars, an acapella opening chorus, and seemingly no structure to the song – but it works so well that it was chosen by the NME to feature on one of their freebie CDs. ‘First Day’ is a great little song, with each verse getting progressively faster until they sound like a punk band, and every other track on here has a great late 70’s New Wave sound which is still so fresh that I am amazed that more bands have not tried it. Even when they attempt a slowie, as in ‘Danger Of The Water’, it is done so uniquely that it still fits in perfectly with the rest of the spikey rockers, and they save the extremely XTC sounding ‘Man Ray’ until last to round off this surprising but eminently enjoyable album. And as for ‘Hounds Of Love’, it seems to get better every time I hear it, meaning that there is not a bad track on this outstanding debut.