The Futureheads ‘Rant’ – Review

28 May

Have you ever desired to listen to an a capella album in your life? The answer is probably no, and you’ve almost certainly never wanted one of your favourite indie bands to make such an album. That said, it makes sense that The Futureheads should go down this route considering their major selling point in the past has been their tight-knit harmonies. So that’s what they’ve done; they’ve ditched the instruments and made an album featuring only vocals.

It’s no surprise then that vocally this is flawless, stunning even; the well-arranged, layered harmonies hooked me in the first time I heard the album, and to be honest I barely missed the instruments. And If you think the lack of instruments will get boring quickly then don’t worry, there is more than enough variety here to keep you entertained. There’s a folk song (‘Sumer Is Icumen In’) a sea shanty (‘The Old Dun Cow’) reinvented tracks from the back catalogue (such as the fabulous ‘Robot’), and unexpected but brilliant covers (Black eyed Peas ‘Meet Me Halfway’).

Of course The Futureheads are best known for their cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’ so we shouldn’t be surprised that they do brilliant things to Kelis’ ‘A capella’ and Sparks ‘Number One Song In Heaven’, but it’s been a long time since the group were this addictively listenable. The other songs that they’ve chosen are well-selected but we’ve heard them all before, with different arrangements admittedly, but to be honest these new versions don’t better the originals. ‘Robot’ and ‘Meantime’ are the representatives from that always impressive debut and listening to them here takes me back to the first time I heard that record. ‘Thuesday’ is a surprise choice from the band’s forgettable follow up ‘News and Tributes’ and it’s good enough to make me want to go back and check that album out for the first time in years.

Honestly, I have no real interest in listening to ‘Rant’ again anytime soon, there’s only so many times I can personally put up with this style of recording, no matter how good it is. However, that’s not me reducing this to novelty status; overall this is a fun album that plays to The Futureheads strengths and whets the appetite for the next ‘proper’ album. Trust me, this is no gimmick – in fact it’s one of the most finely tuned, perfectly crafted records I’ve heard all year.

7/10

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