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The Futureheads - News & Tributes

The Futureheads, News & Tributes

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE self-titled debut album from Sunderland’s The Futureheads was a shambolic riot of jerky pop-punk tunes and the odd cover version that hinted at great potential.

Its follow-up, News And Tributes serves notice that this breathlessly energetic young group has a very bright future ahead of them.

Expertly avoiding the sophomore slump, Barry Hyde, Ross Millard and co have refined the sound that helped get them noticed in impressive fashion to deliver a set of songs that genuinely underline the fact that the band is progressing nicely.

Not that they have abandoned their breakthrough sound completely – for the fast and furious guitars are still in full effect on tracks such as Return of the Beserker, only less dominantly.

Lead single, Skip To The End – which was inspired by a book the singer wanted to finish early – was a joyous return for them, built around a guitar riff that owes more than a passing stylistic nod to the Clash’s Combat Rock album. But its energy was totally infectious and the chorus had sing-along written all over it.

There are several tracks that smother you in some equally brisk melodies – but the real strength in the album lies in its progression.

With efforts such as Worry About It Later and title track News And Tributes, The Futureheads slow things down a notch, taking a little more time to express their feelings.

Hence, there’s a wistful, even melancholy edge to such efforts, while the melodies appear stronger than ever.

Thursday is another prime example, a gorgeous record that drops some fine vocal melodies early on, as well as some nicely restrained riffs. The vocal layering, especially, lends the track an extra layer of emotion missing from some of their faster material.

The stop-start final track, Face, is another gem and a fitting finale – kicking off acoustically, before dropping some more energetic blasts of electric guitar.

Elsewhere, Burnt even dares to hint at the classic style of The Pixies to draw in some wider influences apart from the more obvious likes of The Jam and The Clash. It’s a track about a broken romance (‘please remember to let me down gently’) that neatly manages to avoid the usual cliches or overbearing sentiment – and the guitar solo midway through is a genuine delight.

News and Tributes does deliver the odd average moment – when the boys seem to be just indulging themselves and letting loose – but for the most part this is an excellent follow-up that continues to justify the hype surrounding them.

It is well worthy of anyone’s attention.

Track listing:
1. Yes/No
2. Cope
3. Fall Out
4. Skip To The End
5. Burnt
6. News And Tributes
7. Return Of The Berserker
8. Back To The Sea
9. Worry About It Later
10. Favours For Favours
11. Thursday
12. Face