The Futureheads - Rant

Apropos Acapella-Einlage: The Futureheads wurden auf ihren ersten vier Alben immer für ihre schönen Harmoniegesang gelobt - und irgendwie muss sich die Idee in ihren Köpfen festgesetzt haben für ihre neue Platte alle Instrumente außen vor zu lassen. Also hören wir auf "Rant" 11 Titel, die in etwas mehr als einer halben Stunde acapella dargeboten werden.
Damit verwirklichen sich Ross Millard (Gesang), Barry Hide (Gesang), David Craig (Gesang) und Dave Hyde (Gesang) einen Traum, den sie bereits während der Aufnahmen ihres Debütalbums hatten. 

Was bei den Housemartins auf einer EP mit 5 Titeln ("Caravan Of Love", 1986) noch recht funktionierte, ist leider über einen längeren Zeitraum nur bedingt prickelnd, kaum abwechslungsreich und dürfte kommerziell wenig erfolgreich sein. Möglich ist das wohl nur, weil "Rant" ihr drittes Album ist, das über das eigene Label Nul Records veröffentlicht wird. Auch die Flying Pickets waren 1983 mit einer Acapella-Coverversion ("Only You") so erfolgreich, dass Platz 1 der Single-Charts heraussprang. Und so nehmen sich The Futureheads daran ein Beispiel und interpretieren hier neben eigenen Songs ("Meantime", "Robot") und Traditionals ("Sumer Is Icumen In") auch Lieder von Kelis ("Acapella"), Black Eyed Peas ("Meet Me Halfway") und den Sparks ("The No. 1 Song In Heaven"). 

Einen Eindruck vermitteln die Videos zu "The Old Dun Cow" (passend in einem Pub aufgenommen) und zu "Hanging Johnny", dem Hidden Track des Albums:

Yes, and to be honest the gut reaction to hearing the jagged riffery of ‘Meantime’ recreated by four thick Sunderland accents is to laugh. I mean, it is a pretty funny idea, and perhaps the funniest thing about it is how much time and effort it must have taken to achieve. It’s a far cry from the simple, slow plod of ‘Danger Of The Water’ – on Rant classic Futureheads tracks are reimagined with quadratic complexity, with polyphonic rhythms weaving in and out of time, and piercingly tight multi-tracked vocals. On a technical level, it is brilliant.
Listening to the new version of ‘Robot’ though, as nice as Jaff’s "ah-ah"-ing in the background is, you do sort of miss those famously angular guitars. The harmonies don’t pack the same punch as the old riffs did, and no one in their right mind is going to suggest that the version of ‘Man Ray’ featured on Rant is the definitive one. Of all the The Futureheads’ songs recreated here, ‘Thursday’ is the one that works best. It’s perhaps surprising to see it featured – you’ll rarely see the band play it, or any other song from 2006’s News And Tributes live – but its genteel nature is suited to Rant’s choral atmosphere.
It’s the traditional songs that stand out though, as their textures and tonalities lend themselves to The Futureheads’ elaborate vocal arrangements far more than any four chord power-punk riff ever could. The richly woven, dialect-heavy ‘Sumer Is Icumen In’, for example, is like being transported to a mining village in nineteenth century County Durham, while ‘The Old Dun Cow’ is hilarious, not because it’s a daft gimmick, but because it’s fantastically fun song about getting drunk in a pub that’s on fire.
While less traditional, The Futureheads’ version of ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ by Sparks also works remarkably well. Its success is down to the band’s skills as singers, as their harmonies are so neat and crisp, they can effectively recreate the kind of choral synth sounds that were so fashionable in Sparks’ heyday. It’s that contextual understanding that makes ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’ a far more interesting listen than the other pop covers on Rant (‘Meet Me Halfway’ by The Black Eyed Peas and, you guessed it, ‘Acapella’ by Kelis). And nothing beats hearing Ross Millard and Jaff practically beatboxing that bubbling synth pattern.
But let’s face it – Rant isn’t the sort of album you’re going to listen to every day. I’d be amazed to see it make any end of year lists, and as for it being a change in direction, I doubt it’s a permanent one. What it is, however, is a timely reminder of what it was that set The Futureheads apart from their peers back in 2004 – they are true innovators, completely distinctive, occasionally mad, but still pretty damn marvellous.


Ingo hat gesagt…

Erinnert mich an etwas, kommt aber nicht aus Leipzig und daher finde ich es nicht albern. 6,5 Punkte

Dirk hat gesagt…

Drei a-capella Lieder hintereinander sind gerade noch erträglich - aber 11?!?

4 Punkte