The Futureheads: Powers (Nul) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

The Futureheads

Powers

Nul

Aug 27, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


A lot has changed since The Futureheads' last release, 2012's entirely a capella Rant. When they quietly disbanded in 2013 due to lead vocalist and guitarist Barry Hyde's serious mental health issues they left us with a strong back-catalogue. While the Sunderland-based quartet never quite matched the peaks of their still highly impressive 2004 self-titled debut, they went out with their heads held high during a time of relative political optimism.  

After a half-decade absence, the band return with Powers and have found a renewed energy to return to the fold, which given their hometown's newfound reputation as one of the UK's most Brexit supporting strongholds (as a result of being one of the hardest-hit areas economically), has arrived at a crucial time.     

While The Futureheads aren't an overtly political band, they have dabbled in the past, and given the current state of play, can no longer be ignored. Tracks such as "Across the Border" are a direct response to this, and it is refreshing to hear a band from the heart of the country's dissonance speak out against it. Elsewhere, lead single and opener "Jekyll" described the violent and confrontational nature of the UK that has emerged from the playgrounds to the national crisis it currently faces.

Powers isn't just a state of the union address, however, it also exists as a personal reflection for Hyde, who has spent the past half-decade rebuilding himself mentally. "Headcase" and "Animus" reflect on Hyde's darkest moments during his time away, which "Electric Shock" plays particularly inventive production tricks to describe his struggles. It is not all negative, however, as the beautiful "0704" celebrates the birth of his child and his partner's strength, and is as transcendental as the experience it describes.

While by no means a masterpiece, this is an impressive return to form from The Futureheads, a beloved band who thankfully didn't completely fall by the wayside. There is a clear, renewed energy about their songwriting here that their much-needed break has provided, and while not all of it is as successful as others"Good Night Out," "Idle Hands," and "Listen, Little Man!" are a little incongruousPowers hits more than it misses, and is a pleasure to have the Mackem lads back. (www.thefutureheads.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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