The Futureheads seem to be revelling in the new-found freedom afforded to them following splitting from 679 records. This Is Not The World was seen as a revival of fortunes but now the more significant and substantial The Chaos is nothing short of a full-blown Renaissance. Album number four sees the band step out of their comfort zone, switching off the cruise control, resulting in a more frantic and accelerated trip than the previous two outings.
From the outset, The Chaos is irrefutably vintage Futureheads, ever-present is the distinguishable vocals, recognisable jerky choruses, raw energy and hooks a plenty; all hallmarks of the ‘Heads very own brand of post-punk. Judging by radio-friendly lead single ‘Heartbeat Song’ you would be forgiven for thinking little has changed, however, the band have introduced a more direct and in your face musical style coupled with more succinct lyrics, encapsulating the one of their greatest strengths; channelling everyday miseries and worries into manic, melodious and energetic songs.
They have always written songs about everyday issues but by their own admission a new more political tone has now been introduced to the mix. Opening gambit ‘The Chaos’ is teetering on the brink as it explodes into action with the lines “Five, four, three, two, one… GO” . It’s full of raw emotion and probably encapsulates this new-found political side best, driven by a rampant riffs declaring further discordance “oh, the chaos is everywhere but what’s it gotta do with us?”, “Get up of your knees, stand tall when you talk to me, never confuse lies and apologize, believe me when I say you’ve been told a lie”.
Apart from the new lyrical content closer ‘Jupiter’ demonstrates while they specialize in spiky three-minute heroes they can apply their eccentricities to lengthier, more conceptual pieces. Similarly ‘The Connector’ shows a more raucous side to their music while ‘Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Dart at the Map’ ooze maturity of a vintage whiskey, reliable and strong.
This is their most solid album yet and while many of their contemporaries have long since gone or floundering in mediocrity and obscurity, The Futureheads have gone from strength to strength. It would appear they have found their feet, discovering a formula to marry the fun off-kilter-indie-punk with more serious, powerful tunes, basically all the good bits of their previous three efforts combined with a new air of recklessness and awakening distilled into one album.