The last Futureheads album, News and Tributes, was met with somewhat of a mixed response from critics and fans when it was released back in June of 2006 — perhaps understandably as it seemed to lack some of the energetic immediacy of their self-titled debut. However, after spending some time with the album, some ultimately began to revise their initial thoughts, myself included. Though it may not be as instantly accessible as the first record, it reveals its subtleties on repeated listens, showing a more calculating, mature side of these infectious post-punkers.
That being said, those who weren’t huge fans of News and Tributes should be glad to know that the first track to be revealed from the Futureheads’ upcoming, yet-to-be-titled third effort finds the band harnessing a straightforward, punk-centered sound that recalls the feel of their debut record. “Broke Up the Time” is essentially three minutes of unfettered energy; a relentless onslaught of power chords and an angst-ridden, sick-of-it-all lyrical barrage. And it wouldn’t really be a Futureheads song if it wasn’t all masterfully accented with their trademark vocal harmonies. These guys are sounding as solid and catchy as ever.
Download: The Futureheads – Broke Up the Time
Buy: No word yet on a specific release date for the upcoming album, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Futureheads camp announces one soon.
WHY? has got a lot to live up to after Elephant Eyelash, which was easily one of the best albums from 2005 (and probably my favorite from that year). But if the first single off the upcoming Alopecia is any indication, Yoni and crew’ve still got this shit on lock.
“The Hollows” is certainly grounded in the kind of intricate pop that characterized Elephant Eyelash, but everything has been twisted into something significantly darker; soaring piano arpeggios are supplanted by ominous harpsichord and acoustic guitars have become cutting, muted electric riffs. Gone is the fragile, brokenhearted Yoni Wolf of yesteryear… instead, we find him replaced with a more bitter version of himself, relating stories of malaise and alienation. As usual, the lyrical imagery is vivid, abstract, and compelling, focusing more on conveying emotion and mood than on crafting anything too concrete.
On top of this gem, the U.S. single will also include a Dntel remix of “By Torpedo or Crohn’s” (another track from the upcoming album), Xiu Xiu covering “Yoyo Bye Bye” from Elephant Eyelash, as well as a medley of WHY? songs performed by Half-Handed Cloud. Nice. Alopecia doesn’t come out until March of 2008, but hopefully that’ll be enough to tide us over until then.
Download: WHY? – The Hollows
Buy: Order “The Hollows” on 12-inch vinyl from Anticon.