by Devon McReynolds
I first listened to the Futureheads self-titled debut album after picking it up in the Staff Picks section of my local record store. Once I heard the opening "do do do"s of "Le Garage" in unadulterated Brit pop accents, I wasn’t hooked, but certainly interested. However, after putting it on heavy rotation in my CD player, the consistent pluck of the backing vocals, retro beats, and grooving guitar licks has made me love this album more and more with each listen; and it has become one of my favorite albums of 2004.
The Gang of Four comparisons are not without warrant; this album was produced by the Gang’s own producer Paul Epworth. What I love most about the Futureheads is their ability to combine New Wave with Clash-like punk without sounding desperately stale. They could easily be categorized along with mediocre "dance-rock" bands like the Killers, but what separates the two are their creativity and fun demeanor.
Rarely do I listen to an album the whole way through, but I don’t skip a single song on The Futureheads. The highlights are definitely evident in "Decent Days and Nights" (full of punchy guitar riffs), "Meantime" (poppy chorus), and "Hounds of Love" (melts my heart the same way the Cure’s "Just Like Heaven" did when I first heard it).
If you’re looking to find the meaning of life through song lyrics, then this album is not for you. Leave that up to the brilliant lyricists of our generation (i.e. Chingy). But, if you want to be amused by cleverly crafted songs ranging from garages, robots, first days at work, and the pleasures of being "stupid and shallow" look into the Futureheads. One can tell by listening that they’re not trying to fool anyone with doleful lyrics –they’re just having fun and rocking at the same time.