June 5, 2008

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Futureheads, This is Not the World
Megaforce Records, June 3
As nu-nu-post-punk-revivalists go, the Futureheads are staking out the safe middle, ie straight-talk Clash/Modern English territory. The high road belongs to the Constantines, who insist on out-cooling the mainstream to their own detriment, while the radio slam-dunks remain the domain of Babyshambles. Futureheads’ first album was nearly Constantines-level good, some weird things stuffed into it; their second album not so much, with Joe Strummer theft clumsily placed all over to prove that they didn’t want to be Franz Ferdinand or pub-kid nonsensical like Arctic Monkeys.

This one’s like Kaiser Chiefs on steroids, leading off with the eminently catchy “The Beginning of the Twist,” an exercise in period-authentic, Jam-like not-really-ska and non-indie hookage. “Walking Backwards” is a little bit Talking Heads with a thunderously loud patina of Clash nostalgia (where all these bands would be today without The Clash ever having existed is a terrible thought, so stop thinking it). “Sale of the Century” is Franz-esque, though lacking the trademark irrational fear of melody. BEric W. Saeger