Release Date: Jun 13, 2006
Record label: Vagrant / 679
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Though the Area EP suggested that the Futureheads' sound had matured since the days of their early singles and self-titled debut album, the extent to which the band has grown on News and Tributes still comes as a bit of a shock. Granted, many of the songs on The Futureheads had been around for a while, so it was almost inevitable that when the band returned with new material, it would sound at least a little different. Still, the big, polished sound that producer Ben Hillier gives News and Tributes -- which adds muscle and swagger to the rockers and atmosphere to the ballads -- comes as a bit of a surprise, which is only underscored by the album's lyrical depth.
With their reworking of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love still ringing in their ears, the Futureheads have, if not torn up their post-punk template, tailored it to a smoother fit for their second album. Alongside the throwaway thrashiness of Yes/No and the rash of inflamed guitars that envelope Return of the Berserker, there's a lot of surprises. Thursday is a 1950s doo-wop song that makes mature use of the Futureheads' four-part harmonies; the jagged guitars of Burnt are mindful of its grown-up melody.
What a disappointment. Two years ago, the Futureheads emerged at the tail end of the Gang of Four revival, hitching soaring harmonized hooks to short and jagged guitar lines. Two minutes was enough to set off landmines like "Robot" and a minute and a half was plenty of canvas for "Stupid and Shallow." Even the epic "Carnival Kids," which careened from blistering attack to sugary melody and back, came in under three minutes.