Few prizes for lack of originality at The Futureheads

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The Postelles, Dutch Uncles and The Futureheads at The Cockpit, Leeds

As Sunderland pop-punk foursome The Futureheads finish a sterling and energetic set with a double of the (in)famous cover of Hounds Of Love and a song called Jupiter which they call their Bohemian Rhapsody one is left with the feeling that music seldom rewards the unoriginal.

Two hours previously New Yorkers The Postelles had entertained The Cockpit with a fairly faithful rendition of The Ramones's Beat On The Brat and while it was - as was the rest of the set - entertaining it was hardly innovative.

Indeed seldom does one see a band so obviously wearing its influence so obviously. The Postelles charm is that they mix the New York punky sound of a Blondie or Ramones with the pop sensibilities of The Beach Boys but that charm seems set to be their limitation too. It is fine for a band to be the entertaining sum of its parts, but sometimes you should not show the working out of that sum.

One wonders how this will hamper the accent of The Postelles. Many worse bands earn a living and many bands do what they do less well, but they break no new ground and music seldom rewards the lack of originality that comes with doing something well that has been done before.

Case in point at Dutch Uncles who take the second support slot and labour through an unengaged set. Perhaps tonight is a bad night for them - they seem to lack a spark - but perhaps they too are a little too obvious, a little too an answer the sum of which is too easily calculated: Dutch Uncles equals Devo plus Talking Heads over Franz Ferdinand.

Franz Ferdinand were a peer of The Futureheads when the bands broke and the two have had divergent careers with Franz Ferdinand consider more innovative, ergo better.

The Sunderland lads carve a niche out playing a kind of fast paced pop which no one will ever claim is a new discovery but when the spring from Decent Days & Nights to The Beginning of The Twist they do so with a passion and an élan.

Yet it is for the cover version of Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love - the song that guitarist and leader Ross probably heard through floorboards as his mum washed up to it - that the band get most regard and the best reaction.

The roar of approval is noticeable and slightly saddening. The take on the song is everything that the rest of the set is not. It is innovative, it is a fresh take on things, but it seems a novelty and to laud a cover in the face of a band who are treading an albeit well worn path with such vigour and no little smarts underestimates what The Futureheads can do.

Alas music seldom rewards anything other than innovation and often ignores repeated quality.

Written By Michael Wood Thursday, April 29th, 2010

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One Response to “Few prizes for lack of originality at The Futureheads”

  1. Ian at Early Bath Says:

    Know what you mean about The Futureheads. I’ve wondered how they must feel about being best known for a cover.

    I was once at a Ballboy gig when a fan shouted for them to play “Born In The USA” – their only cover over 5 albums. Singer Gordon looked mightily pissed off and politely suggested maybe he should have gone to a Bruce Springsteen gig instead.

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