Album Reviews

The Futureheads – This Is Not The World

(Nul) UK release date: 26 May 2008

The Futureheads - This Is Not The World From Top 10 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 The Futureheads‘ debut was not continued by the second album (News + Tributes) – despite it being to all intents and purposes, better than the debut. Leaving their label, 679, to take one look at the bottom line, and metaphorically place them in a sack and chuck 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 to enslave every single bean-counting record exec on the planet, forcing them into a life of servitude involving hour upon hour of mind melting mental torture caused by the peeling of grapes whilst wearing boxing gloves?

Fortunately for all, our favourite Mackem new-wavers chose option two. And clearly their near death experience and the subsequent year away from it all has been well spent – there’s enough intents willing 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”, cries Barry on cracking first single The Beginning Of The Twist as drums crash and the guitars duel with practised ferocity. It’s a really neat cross of the first (angular and slightly thin sounding) and second (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 can be three cans of hairspray away from being Bon Jovi-on-Wear, and yet still tauter than a Jack White 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 from a band totally enjoying themselves again, or they’re capable of fakery on a level not normally experienced 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 swinging around. Even when they get a little slow and mournful on Hard To Bear, it’s more lighters in air then exhaust pipes in mouth. Which, in a perverse kind of way, makes it an even more stinging fuck-you to former taskmasters and naysayers.

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

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More on The Futureheads
The Futureheads @ Union Chapel, London
The Futureheads – Rant
The Futureheads – The Chaos
The Futureheads @ Lexington, London
Interview: The Futureheads