“The Futureheads” (Warner Bros)
Sounds like: Weezer and Blur ... combined.
Crazy Brits. That’s what comes to mind after the first listen to “Le Garage,” the opening track to the Futureheads’ self-titled debut. But when the album came to its conclusion 35 minutes later, listeners will feel compelled to play the album again ... and again.
The Futureheads have an extremely infectious sound. Some reviews have compared them to tourmates Franz Ferdinand, but perhaps a more apt comparison would be Weezer, if they grew up in the United Kingdom. The Futureheads play simple and poppy new wave/garage/punk tunes with incredible enthusiasm and tightness. Meanwhile, singer Barry Hyde often sounds like a British Rivers Cuomo, helped along by a good amount of “Blue Album”-style backup vocals.
All comparison aside, the Futureheads have crafted an incredibly fun and original album. Whether going a capella on “Danger of the Water” or covering Kate Bush on “Hounds of Love,” the band members always sound like they’re having the time of their lives. It’s impossible not to get into the upbeat new wave guitar riff of “Decent Days and Nights” or the hilarious chorus of “Stupid and Shallow.”
Like any good punk band should, the Futureheads know how to keep things short too. Only “Man Ray” sounds like it’s being stretched out too far, but Hyde acknowledges it soon enough, screaming a final “shut up!” to close the album.
The band’s lyrics are also refreshing. They’re not exactly insightful, but they always sound great with the music’s breakneck pace. Besides, they’re not always singing about relationships! “First Day,” one of the band’s finest tracks, is about going to a new job, listening to a coworker over a cup of coffee, and feeling the increasing pressure of getting ready for “the next stage.”
The Futureheads’ debut album ends up being one of the most exciting and cool releases of the year. Sure they may at first just come off as astonishingly English, but they’re likely take hold of your mind if you give them a chance.