Monday, August 07, 2006

The Futureheads / News & Tributes / Rating: 7.7

“News & Tributes is a satisfying record, nooked and crannied with asymmetry and surprise detours, and marred by only one truly shitty song.”

Yes/No. (And what do you know, this also happens to be the name of the first track of the record in question.)

Ultimately I am satisfied with The Futureheads’ display of post puberty songwriting that showcases undeniable maturity and Jack and the Bean Sprout growth but while I wouldn’t call any one song strictly shit, I would have liked to see the fat of 16 tracks (50+ minutes) trimmed down quite a bit.

Playing music God in my iTunes format, my perfect News and Tributes would be 10 songs / 28+ minutes. It’s not that I have a crap attention span but songs 9-12 aren’t nearly as memorable as the other half of the record and this lull creates the façade of a second rate follow up which I will firmly say N and T is not.

I know… who the hell am I to reshape a full length by a band I am not in no less after they have clearly spent time building the track listing to something they, their producer or label consider just right but regardless of their vision, I have my own as a fan too.

My version:

1) Yes/No. This smart little intro further proves these boys really care about how their full lengths flow and their songs are strung together.
2) Cope. The sonic 4 part harmony resembles a jumbo jet’s horn, I mean if they had one)
3) Fallout. Not a favorite but this track is the Golden Gate bridge of tracks lying handsomely between and ever so importantly linking song 2 to song 4. Even bands like The Beatles have this kind of set up number.
4) Skip To The End. A fine follow up single to Area which includes a youthful energy that reminds me of a game of patty cake interpreted through snare drum rim hit clicks and grade school playground teasing reflected in their chorus of Naaa NaNaNaNaNA NaNa.
5) Burnt. I wonder if Andy Partridge appreciates a good XTC tribute as much as I do?
6) News and Tributes. This is where it is so easy to compare The Futureheads to an artist like Elvis Costello who came out of the shoot raising a punk rock ruckus in the 70’s and evolved into a complex songwriter- careening all over the musical map in the decades to follow. This is also not my favorite song but it is the title track and for trivia sake is named after a 1958 headline from a British paper when a plane carrying the Manchester United F.C. football team + journalists, fans, and staff crashed in Munich during a blizzard. "News and Tributes" pays homage to the lives lost in the plane crash.
7 ) Back to the Sea. This brings me back to the C-86 / Grebo world of bands.
8) Area. This is as good as any of the best songs off of their debut.
9) Help Us Out. This begs to be on a mix either before or after English Beat. I would suggest "Mirror in the Bathroom" though my better half says anything by Devo.
10) The Return Of The Berserker. PFM might call this names but I call it a perfect way to end with a holler and bang.


Give me a week on and off from Tuning Fork and I go soft. I will be honest and confess that thanks to a friend’s art opening and running into friends / the fellas from the band Doomriders, I am drunk and probably shouldn’t be posting but I need to wrap this piece up. This means my writing skills from here on out are a mess and I am not really proofreading anything. Hooray for the casual world of blogs.

Back to The Futureheads…

The Pitchfork 7.7 review is fair so there won’t be an argument from me there in the slightest and I am not just saying that because I am seeing 4 of my computer screens right now and want to go to bed.

My focus may be garbled at this late hour but the basic point is there aren’t very many new bands whose career I look forward to following. Ideally I want another two decades of music from The Futureheads because keeping track of talented people is so much more rewarding than investing your musical faith in the average. (AKA 90% of the new music out there)

All l I ask is that the band work on their lyrics and once that happens I think we have a classic/ timeless act on our hands.

Wait... is your computer spinning too?