Words by Will Wolstenholme
The prospect of reviewing their latest album, Powers, was one accompanied by apprehension, and led me to choose to ignore all the band’s previous material, and most context other than the 2019 indie-guitar world it enters into.
Mind sufficiently open I clicked play, and immediately discover that my instincts appear to have served me well.
Thick-set bass and drums establish a firm grip with Jekyll; a watery glass of squash from Them Crooked Vultures cordial lulling any listener into any one of Tim Burton’s perhaps less satisfying somnambulations. Similarly, Across the Border starts as a fuzzed up and over-heated blast-track that taps into the same dangerous energies as Wolf Alice’s Yuk Foo and The 1975’s People.
But this hopeful kicker doesn't follow through, with lyrics reminiscent of Holiday In The Sun doing little to spark similar sentiments of the Sex Pistols. As such, the album’s gears don’t ever seem to change, and so initially entertaining work is seemingly boiled down to the unmemorable, unvaried and excessively superficial.
It may just be bad luck that The Futureheads release, peppered with lyrical motifs of meaninglessness, coincides with the release of arguably the biggest and most relevant band in the country’s game-changing single – or maybe I'm reading too far into it.
But it is the lack of variation between songs that illuminates this failing, the admittedly energetic rhythms, riffs, and tempos that charge Powers remaining largely unchanged throughout; a consistency working further towards boredom than excitement.
Despite this criticism, such a sonic landscape suggests that the album could well shape into an astonishing live experience. Yet even so, superficial lyricism and undynamic instrumentations do little to justify why someone other than a passionate Futureheads faithful would engage with this album over others on the market.