(2012) Rant

The Futureheads

... read moreWhile a largely a capella album with songs ranging from "The Old Dun Cow" to Kelis singles could be seen as gimmicky at best and a desperate cry for attention at worst, Rant isn't nearly as far-fetched or contrived as it may seem at first glance. After all, intricate harmonies and vocal interplay...

33′:37″ 12 Songs

1
Meantime (A Capella Version)
The Futureheads
3:16
2
Meet Me Halfway
The Futureheads
3:04
3
Robot (A Capella Version)
The Futureheads
2:00
4
Beeswing
The Futureheads
4:15
5
Thursday (A Capella Version)
The Futureheads
4:11
6
Sumer Is Icumen In
The Futureheads
1:51
7
The Keeper
The Futureheads
1:40
8
The No. 1 Song In Heaven
The Futureheads
4:25
9
The Old Dun Cow
The Futureheads
2:53
10
Acapella
The Futureheads
2:27
11
Man Ray (A Capella Version)
The Futureheads
2:20
12
Hanging Johnny (Bonus Track)
The Futureheads
1:15
Released 02 April 2012, ℗ Nul Records

Review

While a largely a capella album with songs ranging from "The Old Dun Cow" to Kelis singles could be seen as gimmicky at best and a desperate cry for attention at worst, Rant isn't nearly as far-fetched or contrived as it may seem at first glance. After all, intricate harmonies and vocal interplay have been as essential to the Futureheads' sound as their charging drums and guitars, and their cover of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" remains one of their finest moments. Rant provides an inspired showcase for all four of the heads' formidable pipes, particularly on a new version of their own "Thursday," where the gorgeous backing vocals are just as compelling as the main ones, and on the traditional song "The Keeper," where everyone gets a turn at singing lead and dynamic shifts keep things from sounding too traditional. Even better, the album shows off the range of music the band loves beyond the Wire and Gang of Four influences most prevalent in their albums, though the rawness of these performances nods to their punk roots. Some covers are more expected than others: a bit of Richard Thompson's full-throated bray can be heard in the Futureheads' own music, so the lovely version of "Beeswing" here feels like a tribute. However, the real proof of how winning Rant is lies in its surprising song choices. On the Black Eyed Peas' "Meet Me Halfway," Barry Hyde sounds like he's about to burst out of his skin from sheer longing, while the jabbing, percussive version of Kelis' "Acapella" echoes their take on "Hounds of Love" in how different, yet true to the original's spirit, it sounds. They bring mischievous rock opera majesty to Sparks' "#1 Song in Heaven" as they mimic arpeggiating synths with "deedle-dit" vocalizing, and employ an arrangement on "Man Ray" that reveals the underlying complexity the song has always had. Rant goes far beyond any glee club or barbershop perceptions with its reverence and creativity; while it may not change the mind of anyone who thinks a capella pop music is inherently hokey, it's still one of the Futureheads' most exciting albums. ~ Heather Phares