Thursday, March 22, 2012

Album Review: The Chaos by Futureheads

I don't know if only music nerds have this moment, but have you ever heard a band for the first time and been totally blown away? So blown away that years later, when you continue to be obsessed with the band you still remember that moment. A friend of mine from home LOVED the band Soul Coughing and I remember him saying to me when he introduced me to them, "I am so jealous of you right now. You get to have the experience of listening to this band brand new." The first time I heard The Futureheads was like that for me. I was in my sophomore year of college, fresh off of a summer of an obsession with Franz Ferdinand ("Take me Out" has just come out) and other jingly jangly Brit pop, and I walked into the office of Binghamton University's radio station, WHRW, to hear this song about robots. I remember thinking: "what the hell is this?! It's fucking fantastic!!" I immediately uploaded the record to my computer, grabbed a few pins for my bag, and started a love affair that continues to this day. (As a side note, I really miss being a DJ at WHRW. It was so easy to be introduced to great new music and I got tons of free swag to boot.)

Four full length albums in (with a 5th acapella record that will be released in a few weeks), The Futureheads have never disappointed me. It's pretty rare for me to be able to say "I love everything this band has ever put out" (give or take a few songs. I think the only other artists I can say that about are The Beatles, Arcade Fire, Doves, and Garbage. Maybe The Like too (who funny enough toured with The Futureheads on their last US tour), but they have 2 records so that doesn't really count in my book. At any rate, The Futureheads have consistently released great music and are a fantastic band to boot. All four members sing, so their harmonies are spectacular, and are talented musicians. For fast driving, peppy, rock music that sounds a little bit like The Clash meets The Beach Boys with some post-punk influences, this is your band.

All of that being said, I have to admit that it took me awhile to get into The Chaos. At the time I purchases several other albums that ended up taking higher priority on my listening list. I think this combined with the fact that several of the early tracks are very strong while some of the later songs didn't catch my interest right away, led me to shelve the record for awhile. Then a few weeks ago I got a really strong hankering to listen to something upbeat and new. I pulled this out of my music cabinet and immediately thought, "why did I not get into this earlier?" I think sometimes you need to be in the right frame of mine to accept new music and I was in more of an etherial music mood when I tried to listen to this the first time around so I didn't give it a fair chance. Right now I'm back into my happy rock phase, so I've listened to The Chaos at least once a day, every day, for the last two weeks. My roommate must love me.

The Chaos is everything that I've come to expect from The Futureheads. Poppy post-punk with great harmonies, clever lyrics, and moments of serious social commentary when appropriate. I remember reading an interview Alex Kapranos of Frank Ferdinand gave years ago where he said that he really admired how The Beatles, and John Lennon in particular, wrote really sad songs that sounded very happy. "Take Me Out" was written in that vein, and I think The Futureheads do that a lot as well. The single has a bit of that going on, as do other songs throughout their catalog as well. Maybe that's another reason why I like this band so much? I like to be fooled. Haha. At any rate, I've talked enough about how awesome this band is as a whole, so I hope that speaks for itself and you check them out. I'll let the music speak for itself.

Standout Tracks: Struck Dumb, Dart at the Map

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