Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's coming at me through the trees

233. The Futureheads - "Hounds of Love" (679 Recordings, 2005)
234. Kate Bush - "Hounds of Love" (EMI Records, 1986)
235. The Futureheads - "Le Garage" (from the self-titled LP, 679 Recordings, 2004)
236. The Futureheads - "Area" (679 Recordings, 2005)

Lest this list starts looking too much like me running away from the indie I listened to from the ages of like 17-20, let's talk about a band called the Futureheads. 2004 was an exciting time. John Kerry was about to be president. The Chicago Cubs were about to win the World Series. Life was good. It was at this wonderful time that I graduated high school and went off to study in the Bronx and started listening to all these excitable young bands from across the ocean. There was the Franz. There was the Bloc Party. There were the Libertines (yeesh). But nearest and dearest to my heart were the Futureheads. I think I saw them live five times in less than two years (oddly enough missing the tour on which they opened for Franz), starting with a weird showcase type show at the Canal Room, which me and the homeboy Edgar nervously walked into with our fake IDs. They were really great live, from the banter to the execution of the harmonies to the relentless speed and energy. I haven't seen the band since they put out their pretty ok second album and their disappointing third one, but don't worry boys, I still love ya.

What immediately set the Futureheads apart from their Brit contemporaries was their harmonies. Most of their songs give you like three different parts to sing along to, and, you know, variety is the spice of something or other, so that's awesome. Also, they're hilarious in their ability to sprinkle oddly affecting lyrics into what seems like breakneck absurdity, an ability I hold very dear (see Mclusky). "Le Garage" and "Area" are both geek out songs for me, the former probably stronger lyrically and melodically, the latter charging hard 100% to a blazing finish line somewhere on the horizon. The Futureheads' shining moment, however, was their cover of Kate Bush's indecision anthem (heh) "Hounds of Love", which they tweak by making the wordless hooks (which they add a few of) the centerpiece of the song. The "oh oh oh" part at 2:31 is the emotional high point of the song and, let's be serious, probably of my freshman year of college.

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