By Music Fan's Mic | April 8th, 2010
If you have been living under a rock for the last two years, it’ll come as a shock to you that everyone’s saying ‘Oh no, we’re entirely screwed and the world is going to hell in a handcart’. Two words: Economic recession. Since the credit crunch hit in 2008, things have just been going from bad to worse. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the world’s other problems. Y’know, war and other such trivialities.
The Futureheads are well aware of this. In fact, frontman Ross Millard acknowledges that ‘there’s been a real shitstorm to deal with’. So, in response, they’ve had a look at the bigger picture, and in doing so have produced their best record since their debut, released all of six years ago. Where’s the time gone?
The Sunderland group have clearly stepped up their game; they’ve even gone as far as describing the new songs themselves as ‘complicated’. By the end of the first song, the album’s title track, it’s not hard to see why. They’ve added prog elements to their sound, and it’s done them a lot of good.
Musically, there is quite a lot of ground covered here. Over the course of ‘The Chaos’, we get things like the riff-driven tracks that they’re known for (‘Struck Dumb’, ‘The Connector’); forays into pop-punk and math-rock, respectively (lead single ‘Heartbeat Song’ and ‘Stop the Noise’); dark, brooding tracks like ‘Sun Goes Down’ and moments of sheer madness (and brilliance, it has to be said) like closer ‘Jupiter’, which features an a capella section. A capella! In a Futureheads song! Who’d have thought it?
As far as the lyrics go, well, as indicated by the album’s background, they’re quite miserable in places. Topics like unemployment (‘The queue is a thousand strong / The town is closing down’ – ‘The Baron’); emigration (‘We’re leaving here this weekend on an aeroplane / We won’t be here on Monday when it starts again’ – ‘Dart at the Map’); and depression (‘The negativity is ruining your sleep, it makes you want to cry on your pillow’ – ‘Struck Dumb’) crop up, making for uneasy listening.
There is little optimism to be found here on the whole, which means that the two tracks that venture into less distressing lyrical territory, ‘I Can Do That’ (which quotes George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’) and ‘This Is The Life’ seem positively loaded with irony.
For all this doom and gloom, however, the album itself is the quartet’s most consistent to date: nor is there much filler. The band have, well, finally gotten their quality control under control, and sound bigger, bolder and more impassioned than ever before. Welcome back, guys, we missed you.