All Oasis reissues aside, another tenth anniversary of Britpop is upon us. I've always felt Britpop to be "bollocks," as the English would say. Britpop to me is a genre for those who look for the middle ground in genre, which is no surprise why Tony Blair is such a huge fan of the movement. Of course there was some good that came out of Britpop, such as Depeche Mode. The current face of British rock is Franz Ferdinand. Energized, and clearly marketable, Franz Ferdinand is single handedly allowing Brittan to maintain a stronghold in American pop radio. Of course there are other good bands; Coldplay, the muse, and then a couple average ones here and there, such as Keane and Slow (whoops, I mean Snow) Patrol, but none groundbreaking enough to have paved paths for other great British musicians such as Damien Rice to find light in America's already, overcrowded and competitive music market. In comes The Futureheads, Britain’s answer to America's post-punk, rock statements. The Futureheads' sound can be described as a mix of Britpop and modern rock. Led by lead singer and guitarist Barry Hyder, on their self titled album, The Futureheads attempt to contrast the pop norm with rock flair.
The Futureheads begins with "Le Garage" which is very Britpop with its vocal harmonies and is deceivingly simplistic. The actual complex, four part harmony bleeds infectious harmonies. "Robot" begins with minor country guitar, before kicking into Depeche Mode sounding melodies. However, "A to B" is the albums most melodic track on the album. utilizing a witty drum and guitar alternating lick. "Decent Days and Nights" contains a very rhythmic strum pattern to provide an exuberant atmosphere. "Meantime" picks the album up another notch, while "Alms" maintains the tempo with alternating vocals, almost similar to Taking Back Sunday's use of mixed vocals. Before the album becomes to poppy, The Futureheads wisely take it down with "Danger of the Water," a virtually a capella track with a soothing structure and a perfect break and sagueway into more amped up post-punk sound with a pop twist. "First Day" was the first single released, and is a sarcastic take on the 9-5 grind. "He Knows" is a sad
tale of a child kidnapping with no resolution. "The Hounds Of Love" is a great Kate Bush cover. The Futureheads maintain the youthful energy of Bush's version, but recalculate the spirit of the vocal harmonies.
Throughout the album, The Futureheads sustain a beguiling angular guitar while subsidizing energetic Britpop harmonies by maintaining thick accents. Many people feel The Futureheads are the next big hit, though as cliché as it is, only time will tell. They certainly do have a strong chance. As soon as you listen enough to be able to decipher transitions between songs; this 37 minute ride into improved Britpop is worth your time.