Futureheads The Futureheads

Futureheads The Futureheads
From the most northern part of England (Sunderland, if you will), comes the Futureheads — a band that takes all of the excitement from the post-punk revival, strips it of its fashion consciousness and pummels it into spiky, two-minute wonders that calls for excessive pogoing. Yes, the Futureheads are not into stripy shirts and angular haircuts; they’re into precision (hence their fascination with robots) and releasing fits of energy with their terse art-rock. On their self-titled debut album, the harmonising quartet have pushed themselves to the max, developing a sound that is equal parts the Jam, XTC, Devo and most importantly, their own. Only two of the 14 tracks make it past the three-minute mark, just barely. This instant approach of delivering their pop punch works like a charm on numbers like "Decent Days and Nights” and "First Day” — two songs that very differently capture the beauty of swift, astute music. When they tackle and adopt the Kate Bush classic, "Hounds of Love” as their own, or go a cappella on "Danger of the Water,” they convince you in seconds that they’re not just some rehashing of a sound from 20 years ago. The Futureheads want to make music for tomorrow and on their debut offering they not only exceed expectations, they do it in half the time.

The songs sound automatic with some impeccably timed stopping and starting. What attracted you to such a controlled and problematic approach? Singer/guitarist Barry Hyde: It is kind of a reaction against what was specifically happening in Sunderland at the time we formed. The current trend was people still trying to copy Britpop bands. It became really tedious to see a bunch of mediocre bands let down by not challenging themselves. So we spent months and months rehearsing. Our first show was four songs and lasted seven minutes from start to finish. That was enough to give ourselves a name around the Northeast because it was so different to what was happening.

What was it like working with Gang of Four’s Andy Gill? Andy only really produced one-third of the album. The rest was produced by this guy called Paul Epworth, which was his first production job. We recorded the whole album with [Andy], but scrapped two-thirds of it because we weren’t really satisfied with it. He’s a sweet guy, but as a producer he wasn’t really suited to what we were trying to do. We needed someone with a fresher approach to production and he couldn’t really help take us further, whereas Paul really did. He saved us and restored our faith in recording music. (Warner)