Okay, let’s face it, it’s cold. Whether you’re in California dealing with the downpour or back east shoveling your driveway yet again, there is still one great way to stay warm: Dance. And don’t just dance — pogo. Jump around your living room with authority. There’s no better band to use as your own personal soundtrack for this activity than The Futureheads.
Hailing from Sunderland, England, this infectious quartet has produced an extremely tight self-titled debut. The Futureheads have a distinctly British retro sound, reminiscent of The Jam and XTC. Listening to them brings me back to my days in my Southern California middle school, where the cool kids wore trench coats, even in 85-degree weather. Now those were the days. Those were the '80s!
Barry Hyde may sing lead, but the other Futureheads also provide an instrumental feel with their sturdy backup singing. It gives every tune a sense of lushness that makes you want to sing along even before you’ve learned all the words (You can even just sing the lilting oh-oh-ohs in many of the songs and have yourself a grand time).
The songs are all tight, fast and restless. Fast is the key word here - the 14 songs on “The Futureheads” clock in at a breathless 33 minutes. My bounce-around favorite is “Meantime” in which Millard sings, “You thought that I was joking / When I said you were a moron / When I said it I was smiling / So you’d think that I was joking." It's a great bratty listen, especially if you're secretly loathing someone in your life.
“Carnival Kids,” captures some of the best examples of the band’s distinctive vocal layering, singing: “Old enough to know better / Don’t burn by the fire / What goes on inside / When everything is made better / The carnival kids will settle / They’re laid back in style.” They also inject a fresh, extremely danceable flavor into the fabulous Kate Bush song “Hounds of Love.”
The Futureheads aren't one of those bands that suddenly sound American when they start singing, either; they stick to their thick North East British accents through every song. Gang of Four’s Andy Gill produced five songs on the album, so rest assured there's plenty of Anglo attitude spinning off every track.“The Futureheads” is an almost a perfect debut, and it’s exciting to contemplate what this band will come up with next. I can’t wait to see them live and thankfully, their next U.S. tour starts February 21 in Washington D.C. with dates all across the country — even one right here in Seattle on March 6. Bring your dancing shoes.
For more information on the Futureheads, visit: http://www.thefutureheads.com/