Whatever happened to all these likely lads of 2004, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty looks back to the Future(heads).
There was a time, starting in the late 1990’s with the tail end of Britpop and going forward into the early 2000’s where indie music in this country was going through one of it’s extremely fallow periods.
We had Travis, Athlete and Turin Brakes, all very lovely, polite bands with the odd nice tune, but with nary an electric guitar in sight, let alone some fire in their bellies.
It led to us having to import our high-quality guitar music from overseas, which did bring us the likes of The White Stripes, Interpol and The Strokes but bands such as these were hardly going to turn up on a wet Wednesday night at the Barfly, so us live music aficionados were living off scraps.
We needed some inspiration. Desperately.
By 2002 things were getting even worse.
Although not the worse band in the world, Coldplay held sway. They headlined Glastonbury and V Festival, and the only alternative darlings were the likes of (heaven help us all) Red Hot Chili Peppers, boring the nation as only they could bore (cool 20 minute guitar solo and bass noodling, dudes).
The nation’s music mood was still being captured in essence by the old school music press, and 2003 had seen NME covers for the likes of The Datsuns, Jet and Avril Lavigne.
Things were bleak.
Not to worry though as in 2004 we finally saw the cavalry arrive, the bands that were going to save our ears.
Brash youngsters from all around the home nations, picking up their guitars, dusting off their Buzzcocks CD’s and injecting some passion and fire.
Post-punk, 2000’s style, had finally arrived.
There was no catchy headline-grabbing scene name as we’d had in the 90’s (although looking back, it could have been The Scene Of Diminishing Returns), it was being led by the music weeklies.
They’re going to fill arenas and headline festivals for years to come, and the best thing is, there’s bloody loads of them.
Each week, a new band would seemingly crash onto the scene in a blaze of glory, thrashing about on a glorious 3 minute debut, and we’d instantly fall in love with them.
It was only a matter of time before this movement exploded into mainstream culture.
And then, in reality, very little.
Sure, there was some crossover success, usually with the bands debut album, but as noted above, album number two and (if they got that far) three would be less well-received, less popular.
There was very rarely a big crossover single which did make the exception all the more exciting, Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out being the obvious example).
Band after band shone bright then fizzled out.
Now we look back at would could and should have been, the 2004 bands that never quite took off:
10: Bloc Party
Heralded due to a run of blinding initial early singles, one of the most popular bands of the scene.
Still in existence, although no stranger to an indefinite hiatus or two, and with a changed line-up from the original, their debut album, Silent Alarm was NME’s Album Of The Year in 2005.
9: The Young Knives
Ashby-de-la-Zouch trio of weirdness The Young Knives were purveyors of the off-kilter. They had two Top 30 albums in the mid-2000’s and a few near-miss to being a hit singles.
One of their members was called The House Of Lords, you have to love them if only for that.
Initially written off as some sort of Joy Division copyists, Editors showed they had plenty more than that on their brooding debut album The Back Room, a classic of the era.
They went on to have two Number One albums, and are still a going concern, regularly playing some big-sized venues, although it’s fair to say that their imperial phase was in their early days.
7: The Rakes
One of the unfairly less-remembered bands of the time, The Rakes were yet another of those with an absolutely blistering debut album, Capture/Release.
Choppy two minute knockabouts where there speciality, however when they let loose a bit more on the likes of Work, Work, Work, it showed a different, mellower side.
They disbanded in 2009, due to their frustration in being intrinsically tied up in just their early back catalogue. Although, it’s one that a lot of bands would kill for.
6: Kaiser Chiefs
As each of their albums have become more Radio 2 friendly and after they decided to cash in their indie credibility chips by appearing on The Voice and Yorkshire Tea adverts, it’s easy to forget that the Kaisers were once considered to be at the forefront of indie.
I Predict A Riot, of course, still fill university dance-floors, but the whole of the debut album Employment is full of tunes, it’s just that there legacy has been so watered down.
Another set of odd cookies, Brakes were not ones for the conventional three minute pop song. Their debut Give Blood has a total of 16 tracks, only two of which are longer than this, with Comma Comma Comma Full Stop weighing it at 9 seconds.
They might not have been around long (literally), but their first two albums are beyond indispensable for fans of short sharp hits.
The below being the prime example, 64 seconds of pure joy.
4: Maximo Park
They’re now six albums in, and are still as great as they ever were, a rarity amongst this top 10.
Singer Paul Smith has also produced some marvellous, mellower solo stuff, saving all the fuzzy guitar songs for the Park’s oeuvre.
3: Franz Ferdinand
The biggest crossover band of the lot. An example of their rise to fame was that Getintothis’ saw them support Ladytron on the opening launch of O2 Academy Liverpool downstairs venue, then next saw them just 18 months later headlining the Glasgow SECC Arena.
The self-titled debut album sounded like a greatest hits, not one bit of fluff on there, a perfect encapsulation of their dancey indie pop.
Take Me Out and Dark Of The Matinee were the huge hits, but the debut single below (strangely left off the album) beats them both.
2: Art Brut
I’d much rather live in that universe.
The theme of this rundown is definitely classic debut albums and the Brut are no exception. Tales of erectile dysfunction, armed robbery, modern art and unrequited love are all here.
Check out the whole back catalogue, it’s such a worthwhile investment.
1: The Futureheads
Sadly best known for a cover version, Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love, The Futureheads are far more than this.
Their self-titled debut album is so good, that it could be argued that HOL is possibly the weakest track on it, full as it is with carefully crafted fizzy snapping nuggets.
The good news is that after a few years break, The Futureheads are back.
They are playing that classic debut album in full live in December, but ahead of this, they are about to release their first new album in 7 years, entitled Powers.
And Getintothis’ has been fortunate enough to have a little sneaky advance listen.
It opens with recent singles Jekyll and Good Night Out, both of which have all the flourishes of old.
It’s a statement of intent that sets the mood for the rest of the record, an assurance that they suddenly haven’t changed their raison d’etre, the harmonies and choppy guitars are intact.
Animus and Electric Shock are exactly how you would expect and want The Futureheads to sound like in 2019.
That’s not to say that it’s any kind of throwback or comfort blanket, there are changes of mood a-plenty.
The first signs of something different come on Across The Border, with it’s aggressive, fierce vocal, a noise which really does suit them down to the ground.
Ross Millard tones down his vocal for side one closer Stranger In A New Town, which highlights their less frenzied sound, another string to their extensive bow.
The third teaser that they released prior to the album’s release Listen, Little Man! kicks off the second half, and is the first of a run of tracks that hark back to the sound of that seminal debut record.
Headcase sees the album now firmly into it’s stride, and they sound like a band who are delighted to be back making music together, it’s a relentless joy, surely a future single.
Idle Hands brings to mind one of their earliest tracks The City Is Here For You To Use, whereas Don’t Look Now and 0704 are more calm and highlight the beauty of having two equally great vocalists alternating on tracks, giving each song a different feel in sound.
One feature of all the previous Futureheads albums is the high-quality closer and Mortals keeps up that proud tradition.
A slow burner, with a hypnotic vocal, which then breaks into a closing chant which sounds like a victory call, a ‘we are back and we made this’ cry.
Getintothis’ will freely admit that on first listen, as anyone does when listening to a returning favourite band of theirs, they had held their breath, and just hoped they hadn’t made a terrible mistake coming back.
No chance of that. This is a welcome and satisfying return, and the world is a better place for having The Futureheads back in it.