Album Reviews

The Futureheads – This Is Not The World

(Nul) UK release date: 26 May 2008

From top-ten chasing hounds of love, to neutered puppies without even a record deal to their names, recent times have been hard for wor ‘Heads.

The unexpected Kate Bush propelled success of their debut was not continued by the second album(News + Tributes) – despite it being to all intents and purposes, better than the debut. Leavingtheir label, 679, to take one look at the bottom line, and metaphorically place them in a sack andchuck them into the nearest canal. Or possibly a lake.

So what to do? Curl up and die? Or, set up your own label, make a new record and get rich enough toenslave every single bean-counting record exec on the planet, forcing them into a life of servitudeinvolving hour upon hour of mind melting mental torture caused by the peeling of grapes whilstwearing boxing gloves?

Fortunately for all, our favourite Mackem new-wavers chose option two. And clearly their near deathexperience and the subsequent year away from it all has been well spent – there’s enough intentswilling around This Is Not The World to power several large climate change summits.

There’s an intoxicating energy to it all. “It’s time to wake up / It’s time to change”, criesBarry on cracking first single The Beginning Of The Twist as drums crash and the guitars duel withpractised ferocity. It’s a really neat cross of the first (angular and slightly thin sounding) andsecond (more mature, more rounded) albums to produce a third (edgy, punky and yet heavy) way.

It’s also gleefully exciting – the manner in which Radio Heart and See What You Want canbe three cans of hairspray away from being Bon Jovi-on-Wear, and yet still tauter than a JackWhite posing patch has to be produced by some kind of genius.

So either the joy and freedom which This Is Not The World revels in has either been transmitted froma band totally enjoying themselves again, or they’re capable of fakery on a level not normallyexperienced without the prefix of “I’d like to thank the academy…”.

Not a hint of the bitterness, blame and retribution that they’d be more than justified in swingingaround. Even when they get a little slow and mournful on Hard To Bear, it’s more lighters in airthen exhaust pipes in mouth. Which, in a perverse kind of way, makes it an even more stingingfuck-you to former taskmasters and naysayers.

It is, amazingly, surprisingly, spectacularly, their best record yet. Guess we should haveremembered: a Futurehead is for life, not just for Christmas.

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