Here we have The Futureheads‘ fifth studio album, ‘Rant’, the entirely a cappella follow-up to 2010′s ‘The Chaos’. The boys have stripped themselves right down and eliminated the security of their instruments in this ambitious and somewhat risky endeavour. If, like me, you remember being instantly gripped by the rounded “ah, oh oh” vocals at the beginning of their massive 2005 hit cover of Kate Bush‘s ‘Hounds Of Love’, you might already have a soft spot for what you’re about to hear.
One of the most interesting tracks that ‘Rant’ has to offer is a beautifully arranged cover of Black Eyed Peas‘ ‘Meet Me Halfway’, that the band have turned into a haunting love letter to a selfish lover. The song will also work as one half of a forthcoming double A-side single, along with other album track, a cover of Sparks‘ ‘The No.1 Song In Heaven’. Their take on Kelis‘ ‘Acappella’ is a fitting addition to the album, but sadly lacks on its execution, giving the vibe that this track is only there because it had to be, not because they had fun arranging it.
Clever and, in a stange way, nostalgic versions of their own songs; ‘Meantime’, ‘Robot’, ‘Thursday’ and ‘Man Ray’, prove that this album is a showcase of the band’s versatility. An affectionate cover of Richard Thompson‘s ‘Beeswing’ boasts impressive but simple round-singing, adding life to the lyrics. The vocal range between the group is surprisingly wide and they manage to add a lot of depth to the tracks using only their voices. If you thought that The Futureheads were tight with instruments, then this will surely impress.
An a cappella album wouldn’t be complete without some traditional folk songs and favourite of the bunch has to be ‘bleary eyed’ drinking classic, ‘The Old Dun Cow’. The story of a pub that catches fire one night, as a group of drinking buddies sup on their drinks… until they seek shelter in the basement and try to drink all of the booze. This pub time ditty, along with other traditional folk song; ‘Summer Is Icumen In’, allows the band to show off their storytelling abilities, as well as taking advantage of their ability to create elaborate vocal arrangements.
‘Rant’ sees the band do justice to so many other people’s songs, and seeing as their biggest previous success was a cover version, it’s fitting to pronounce them as master mimics of the highest order. ‘Rant’ won’t become your new favourite album and it won’t be a groundbreaking success, but it will serve as a reminder of how this band’s innovative style set them apart from their equals and bought them the massive success they have deserved.
Written by James Deacon
Tags: The Futureheads
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