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Sunderland Quartet Deliver their State of the Nation Address
Francis Jones, 01 Apr 2010
The Chaos, we are told, is The Futureheads most overtly punk album – albeit one boasting their signature harmonised yelping. Certainly, they’ve beefed up their sound here, with the steroidal production of Field Music’s David Brewis and studio legend Youth adding muscle to the Mackems’ spindly sound. However, the most punk element of the record resides in the subject matter, with Barry Hyde gobbing out lyrics to challenge not just the liars in authority, but those who sheepishly toe the line.
They lay down their manifesto on the title track. It’s a wake-up call to the apathetic, those who survey the bedlam about them and wonder, “What’s it got to do with us?”. This is a theme revisited time-and-again on the likes of ‘Struck Dumb’ – “Stop furrowing your brow / Stop living in the clouds” – ‘I Can Do That’ and ‘This Is The Life’. Evoking a sense of pandemonium, the shearing guitars and cascading rhythms prove the perfect vehicle for such social commentary.
Elsewhere, they work themselves into a suitably maniacal lather to blast the aggro “animals” encountered on holiday (‘Stop The Noise’), ponder what happens when our inner Mr Hyde comes out to play (‘Sun Goes Down’), and sign-off in fine style with the unruly, barbershop quartet meets prog-punk stomp of ‘Jupiter’. On an almost uniformly excellent album only ‘Heartbeat Song’ – more Busted than Buzzcocks – disappoints. Ultimately, whilst its diagnosis of the modern world may be grim, The Chaos proves The Futureheads are in the rudest of health.