Release Date: Apr 2, 2012
Record label: Nul
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
I started the morning with the exciting intention of listening to The Futureheads’ new album Rant after my morning coffee. As I drank my coffee and ate my cinnamon toast crunch I wondered what the new album would be like. I have always been a fan of the post-punk revival band (in fact I love almost all of the post-punk revival bands such as Franz Ferdinand, The Rakes, The Rapture, etc.) and I tried to picture the album in my head.
During some recent channel-hopping, the remote stopped on Melvyn Bragg’s [i]…On Class And Culture[/i], where a colliery band were parping ‘My Heart Will Go On’ over archival footage of miners. “I didn’t realise this song was this old!” I thought, picturing wives gazing out the window, thinking of their lover, near, far… Of course, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ was written for Titanic, and mistaking its mawkish strains for a mining song is borderline offensive. But it’s testament to how much gravitas those weighty horns and rousing voices can lend that such idiocy were possible, and it’s a profundity that The Futureheads have exploited on ‘Rant’, their entirely a cappella fifth album.
Rant is easily the most difficult record in the Futureheads’ already impressive discography. They’ve been one of a few revival-style bands to emerge from the past decade relatively unscathed due to consistent quality. They never really completely re-invented themselves, though, which is an easy trap to fall into while staying in a genre that limited.
Strange as it might sound, maybe a radical change in direction isn’t what The Futureheads need right now. After all, with the exception of Bloc Party and maybe Franz Ferdinand, everyone’s favourite Mackem artrockers are the only British band from the new revival of (deep breath) ten years ago to have maintained any semblance of credibility. You can’t say that about The Rakes.
An exhilarating stunt that more than whets the appetite for what comes next. Fraser McAlpine 2012 Okay, so it’s a stunt album, a collection of a cappella songs, none of which have been written especially for the project. And on paper, the running order is a hotchpotch, Rant surely the only album to ever find equal space for Meet Me Halfway by The Black Eyed Peas, The No.1 Song in Heaven by Sparks, and the 13th century traditional English round Sumer Is Icumen In.
Brave, unique and heartfelt or ill-considered novelty? Inspired by their Live Lounge cover of Kelis’ ‘Acapella’ The Futureheads have produced an album completely made up of instrument-free versions of their own and others’ tracks. Their use of harmonies has always been what’s lifted them above their peers, so in many ways this album makes perfect sense. We all know how well those distinctive harmonies did for them on ‘Hounds Of Love’ (factoid: it was my ringtone for quite a while) and ‘Danger Of The Water’ on their debut was nearly completely a capella.