US release date: May 27th 2008
Boy, what a comeback. You know the story - smash debut, ‘difficult’ second and now for the third – ‘This Is Not The World’ is bold, brash and as in-yer-face as way back when these boys first embedded into your consciousness in 2004.
After a silently busy year away from the spotlight (after parting with their then record label 679), The Futureheads embraced the punk-rock ethic like never before. Along with their management company Big Life, Barry, Ross, Jaff and Dave hatched plans to release their third album independently and in doing so took control of their own destiny. They returned in late 2007 with a free download of ‘Broke Up The Time’ and some key live shows in London and hometown Sunderland.
Live tours have dominated the opening of 2008 in advance of the first single release ‘The Beginning Of The Twist’ (Nul Records) on March 10. Sitting happily on the A list at Radio One and MTV2, the response to the single has been immense. TV calls for the band have also included Sound, The Culture Show and The Album Chart Show. Exciting times, indeed.
Having won themselves a wealth of fans and supporters over their five years of making music together, The Futureheads have produced some of the most invigorating guitar driven punk-pop this country has had to offer in decades. Debut album ‘The Futureheads’ was released in 2004 and ‘News & Tributes’ followed in 2006.
‘This Is Not The World’, it could be said, is an amalgamation of the two – it has the excitement, urgency and vigour of ‘The Futureheads’ with the added control, sincerity and maturity employed on ‘News & Tributes’. It’s the album they always intended to make.
Recorded over three weeks in Spain last summer, legendary producer Youth (Primal Scream, The Verve) clipped the Mackem lads’ overflowing pot of songs into shape. Out of it came twelve short, sharp, shocks of pure Futurehead joy, not dismissing the killer hooks and choruses that adorn each and every one. A change of scenery clearly served them well.
The album opens with first single ‘The Beginning Of The Twist’. It’s replete with rhythmic guitars, clever harmonies and urgent vocals spiced with their distinctive accents that we all know and love. ‘Walking Backwards’ maintains the pace and offers up one of the catchiest choruses on the album (and there’s some tough competition). ‘Think Tonight’’s driving force and ‘bah-bah-bah’s shakes things up and sounds like the perfect accompaniment to ‘The Barry Hyde Shuffle’.
Highly expected to be their pre-album single, ‘Radio Heart’ opens with clean drums and simple guitar riffs. Spot on minor-key harmonies adorn the chorus and the outro and give this catchy pop song an eerily dark undertone. Title track ‘This Is Not The World’ follows confidently. It’s a heady mix of a dominant bassline and glitchy guitar parts for the verse, leading into riding symbols, rasping snares and four-part harmonies on the chorus. Big.
And so it continues. ‘Sale Of The Century’, ‘Hard To Bear’ and ‘Work Is Never Done’ are all evidence of how this band have grown. The writing skills on show and the complexities amidst each track are testament to The Futureheads’ focus and drive to get this right. While Barry and Ross predominately share writing duties, ‘Work Is Never Done’ is the first on the album to feature lead vocals by Ross.
‘Broke Up The Time’ is classic Futureheads and could have quite happily sat next to ’Carnival Kids’ or ‘The City Is Here For You To Use’ on their debut. More off-beat ‘AH-AH, AH-AH’’S pepper ‘Everything’s Changing Today’ and ‘Sleet’ boasts one the best intros on the record. You can’t fail to jump about to this upbeat turn with its shifting time signatures and happy-go-lucky vibe.
Closing track, ‘See What You Want’ rounds things off perfectly. Like any live show they’ve ever played it’s bold, fun and fast and incidentally, the shortest song on the album – the only one under three minutes – I told you they’d changed.
This time around, The Futureheads are relaxed and confident and they want the world to know it – but most importantly, with this record - it shows.
‘This Is Not The World’
The Beginning Of The Twist
This Not The World
Sale Of The Century
Hard To Bear
Work Is Never Done
Broke Up The Time
Everything's Changing Today
See What You Want