Album Review: The Futureheads – This Is Not the World

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After breaking into the world of music in 2000, The Futureheads began to gain world recognition thanks to support stints for Pixies and Foo Fighters and two applauded albums, their self-titled debut in 2004 and 2006’s News and Tributes. And though despite being dropped from previous label 679 Recordings shortly after their second album’s release, casting doubt regarding the band’s future, the English natives have indeed returned with their newest effort, This Is Not the World.

Solidifying a sound that is solid and consistent in the tradition of the 80’s new wave scene, the band’s third-studio album features much of a stripped down rock sound that is ever so apparent in independent music today. The first track, “The Beginning of the Twist”, sets the mood for the whole record and features a dance-rock feel, reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand, allowing for an insanely catchy sound. This consistent sound rolls right over into the second and third tracks, all three of which open with strong powerful notes that amp the listener for the rest of the listening experience.

The fourth chapter brings a story of unrequited love as Barry Hyde (lead vocals and guitar) asks for the girl with the “Radio Heart” in a way that brings images of The Cure. His vocals through out hint at a Robert Smith essence that really shines on “Hard to Bear”, the ballad of the record. “This is Not the World” and “Sale of the Century” are the first sign of what could be to come for The Futureheads bringing a more modern sound of growth to their catalog.

After a hiatus from the strong pounding sound that brought in the record, it makes a comeback with “Work is Never Done.” This track takes the record on a Clash-esque twist that is sure to be a crowd chanting pleaser. The remainder of the album takes off on an early punk, Ramones laced ride that exposes the bands roots in full light.

Lyrically, This Is Not the World is simple and fun, giving the listener an easy story to follow without much meaning to be deciphered. This works for The Futureheads as it not only allows the music to shine through, but provides for a fun vocal experience, in other words, good music to chant back amongst the jumping and grinding. Not only does this lyrical simplicity seem to cater to the band’s overall strengths, but also adds a level of enjoyment that one often finds with early English and New York punk rock. The record closer “See What You Want Me to See” shows another possible glimpse to where the band could be going in the next year or so. It carries the ghost of music’s rebellious past, but is also heavy in a sound that truly belongs only to The Futureheads.

Overall, the album is solid, thanks to a more heavy rock sound than what can be found on previous recordings and diversions from their past toward a more mainstream, but positive direction. It flows from loud and heavy, to more emotional at the center, finishing off with odes to punk rocks beginnings and a crystal ball of a Futureheads to come.

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