News and Tributes

Studio Album by released in 2006

News and Tributes review

The Futureheads return with their eagerly awaited sophomore effort

Taking the best of post-punk, new wave, and pop as inspiration, Sunderland's the Futureheads were among the best of the U.K.'s "angular" movement, which also included Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party. The band began as a trio of vocalist/guitarist Barry Hyde, bassist Jaff, and drummer Pete Brewis. Hyde and Brewis were tutors at a lottery-funded organization called the Sunderland City Detached Youth Project, which aimed to get kids off the street by having them play music instead. The rest of the Futureheads' lineup was also culled from the Sunderland City Detached Youth Project: vocalist/guitarist Ross Millard and Hyde's little brother Dave, who eventually took over drums duty from Brewis. Subtlety and exuberance tend to be mutually restraining qualities, but on their self-titled debut, the Futureheads found common ground between these disparate attributes, resulting in 2004's most nuanced and giddiest rock record. This year Barry Hyde and his post-punk pals return with their eagerly awaited sophomore effort, News and Tributes. The band's sound has matured whilst retaining the spunk and verve of their debut. The News is – all of these songs. The Tributes are – to people, places, events and memories.

News And Tributes has more spacious, wistful feel

News and Tributes replaces the hectic Technicolor rush of the debut – once described by the band as “a punch in the face” - with a more spacious, wistful feel. Generally, it’s the quiet numbers here like the title track, a misty-eyed homage to the victims of the Munich air disaster, that impress more than familiar, harmony-laden numbers like Cope or Worry About It Later. That, however, would be to ignore the crushing Return Of The Berserker, a track that’s hammered into the middle of News and Tributes like a stake through the heart. The funky Back To The Sea is trademark Futureheads, with its intriguingly jaunty guitar riffs and off-beat lyrics. Opening track Yes/No provides a strong start, and is as infectious as Decent Days And Nights ever was, while Face is as chilled out as the Scarborough winter weather. Bold and brash first single Skip To The End is bizarrely catchy and radio-friendly. Their use of four part harmonies has been expanded upon throughout the album. There's also the rather lovely, lyrically intriguing Fallout and Burnt, which borrows the pummeling bass and scratchy guitars of The Breeders to forge The Futureheads finest song yet.

The band still knows its way around a great pop song

You will not be disappointed with what you find on News and Tributes. It's the album you might have expected The Futureheads to of taken another year to produce. Instead they enlisted the renowned production skills of Ben Hillier (Depeche Mode, The Doves, Blur etc) and locked themselves away in a remote farm style studio in Scarborough at the end of last year. The decision to do so proved fruitful as they offloaded all the new songs they’d been carrying around with them in their heads for the last year of touring, resulting in News and Tributes being laid down in only 6 weeks. This new album may introduce fans to a stripped down, slower and less erratic Futureheads, but the band still knows its way around a great pop song. One quality News and Tributes thankfully shares with the debut: it's catchy as sin. Unlike its predecessor, the work of a dizzy young band so anxious to assert its unique voice that it couldn't stop reiterating the same ideas, News and Tributes is proudly diverse, scooping from every flavor in the freezer. News and Tributes is not just better than their first album; it's a fabulous record from a band with an exciting forward catalogue ahead of them.