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- The Futureheads »
”Is it a happy ending/ or a broken heart?”
Curse the being or force who made it so, but that is the way, isn’t it? Someone comes along, initially enthrals you, filling every part of your being with vibrancy, a new-found urgency and then the crunch: do they like you back? If they do, is it in the same way? The consequences are terrifying but inevitable.
The Futureheads seem to have slipped into the ‘Friend Zone’ prematurely; an astonishing, jittering debut which did the groundwork in charming (come on, they are) little venues around the country followed by a brisk rebuff; not quite what we were expecting. You know when you jam the ‘play’ button in further when you’re listening to a tape on a walkman? Well, you probably don’t, but trust me on this one: it sounds like that. Drawn out and deliberately slowed down. Take the intricacies and intimacies of the first record, stretch them out and place them on a timeline double the original length – this is the basic formula for News and Tributes.
After DiS gets over the initial Big Venue Fear (as well as the Topless Men With Gold Chains Fear), the set opens quite promisingly with Yes/No. Yes! A highlight off the new album! No! So early! With the decrease in pace, it’s now painfully transparent how appalling most of the lyrics are. Whether taken in or out of context, the lyric “everyday still feels like a Thursday” should be taken out to the pastures and shot and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels mildly uncomfortable at the sight of Barry Hyde with an acoustic guitar hanging above his wobbly legs.
The kooky Northern stage-charm they were semi-famed for is still present, but it now seems quite forced and rehearsed. All these signs point to one thing: a band that’s spent too long on the road without a breather to let their songs grow, develop and, if necessary, be discarded; too much time spent pleasing the audience and not themselves; too much time doing what is expected and not what is natural.
These things are not without remedy: there are fifteen-or-so American tour dates in the two months before they come back to play the main stage of that Weekend sponsored by that beer company which will hopefully equate to plenty of time off to mull on past successes and future directions. If they triumph as much as they did at the same festival last year, they will enter Autumn a better band for it.
Photo courtesy of Sonia Melot
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