Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Futureheads – Heartbeat Song

“I don’t understand Ross! I was so sure Alex Macpherson was gonna give us at least an 8!”…


Pete Baran: “We’re singing out of tune” – surely exposing the secret of The Futureheads is to lay open the mystery of their success. Except their success is pretty much a cover of a Kate Bush song sung out of tune, and “Heartbeat Song” is not going to trouble that.

Alfred Soto: Where they once announced themselves with a hiccuping Kate Bush novelty cover, now they flaunt the limits of their ambition with a — what? Big Country homage?

Rodney J. Greene: I know nothing about these guys except that they’ve been around for a while. I’m going to assume that they were more inspired than “Cars rip-off with Brit-pop accent” at some point. [3]

Martin Skidmore: Lots of the old acts they’d cite as big influences are huge favourites of mine, but I can’t feel the energy or attack or compelling quality or cleverness or great tunes that those variously had. It puts me in mind more of mod revival fifth-raters than most of those acts.

Matt Cibula: Zippy as a pinhead, tasty and nutrient-free like whipped cream. Love the “Born to Run” thing, not so sure about the XTC/ska thing, which sounds more dated than that one girl in high school.

Doug Robertson: Someone’s been listening to Rainbow’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”, but there are worse songs to be influenced by. There’s a lot of flavours and hints of other songs in the mix as well, almost like Heston Blumenthal’s taken his cookery techniques and applied them to the indie scene, just to see what comes out. It’s unoriginal, sure, but it is bouncy fun, like riding a space hopper on a bouncy castle.

Michaelangelo Matos: Not the guys I would have expected to go in for production overprocessing; their s/t 2004 debut is still one of my favorite rock albums of the past decade, so taut it practically snaps. This just seems soggy, the harmonies particularly. And despite its 2:27 brevity, the bridge is as Queen-slash-prog as Muse.

Alex Ostroff: The Futureheads’ debut was a burst of post-punk that was just off enough to hold the promise of something marvelous. While ‘Heartbeat Song’ doesn’t reach those heights, it’s a far cry closer than anything they’ve done in the six years since. Harshly-accented four-part harmonies recall their glory days, albeit swathed in a touch too much guitar. This is a noisier, brasher incarnation of The Futureheads, but it’s also one that’s rediscovered its fire.

Ian Mathers: Hey, these guys still exist! Those of us who loved their debut as much for the misanthropy as the tunes probably need to accept that they’re a band that does love songs now, but “Heartbeat Song” is just as nervy and frantic as all of their stuff (even if, unlike “The Beginning of the Twist,” it’s optimistic rather than paranoid about infatuation). And the Futureheads, bless ’em, are one of the few bands who would centre a genuinely lovely romantic song around “your heartbeat song / it’s good but it’s not the one.”

Iain Mew: If you told me that this wasn’t new, but was a single from the previous album that I’d missed at the time, I’d believe you. Or the one before that. The band just works with too limited a palette to seem anything but inessential this far on.

Edward Okulicz: Thrilling, fast, tight, loud… inconsequential, but so what? A damn good time is what this is, even though it’s pretty much exactly the same record as “Meantime”.

Anthony Easton: Concise, hard guitars, not quite punk, workable solution to problems already solved, but I liked it anyways.

Chuck Eddy: “It’s like a cartwheel in my head, but my legs are made of lead.” “So are the rhythm section’s legs,” I wanna snark, but they’re really not that bad. Not that good, either — but this still has hooks in it, and it’s comprehensible, and it’s not slow. Forgettable, but likeable.

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