FUTUREHEADS – News And Tributes (679 Recordings)

Another band with that notoriously difficult ‘second album syndrome’ to content with. I loved their debut, and thought that their stand-alone single ‘Area’ had one of the best B-sides ever in ‘Help Us Out’, but I was worried that they couldn’t keep it up for a whole album. I needn’t have feared, as this record is every bit the equal of the first. Some tracks jump out at you straight away, with ‘Yes/No’ having a great jerky rhythm and shouty chorus, and ‘Cope’s quirky single note harmony vocal tagged onto the end of each verse. ‘Fallout’ harks back to the first album, and leads into early single ‘Skip To The End’ – a brilliant idea about skipping to the end of a relationship to see if it worked out or not. Married to another of their great, jerky tunes, it is one of the album highlights. ‘Burnt’ is a more reflective song, and even though it still has that angular edge that is the band’s trademark, it has a tunefulness that some of their songs lack. The title track carries this on before ‘The Return Of The Berserker’ blasts all the sensitivity out the window with a punk-paced rant. ‘Back To The Sea’ brings the pace down slightly, before ‘Worry About It Later’ comes in to serve as a workshop on writing a Futureheads song. Stop/start rhythms, pounding guitars, unison singing and harmony vocals – it’s all here, and it’s great. ‘Thursday’ slows the pace right down for the first real ballad of the album, and the Beach Boys harmonies just emphasise the fact that the band can do ‘sensitive’ as well. ‘Face’ closes proceedings with a deceptively gentle guitar/vocal intro before the band kick in for a rollicking finish. Constant listening to these songs does lead me to believe that they are some of the band’s best work, but as much as I love this album I can’t help feeling that they tended to put all the best songs at the beginning and so it does sort of limp to a conclusion. Still, that’s not to say that it is a disappointment, as it most certainly is not, and they remain one of my favourite bands of the moment.