Review Summary: Spunky English pop rock
The music scene in England has gone through a welcome revival in the last few years, with the general tone steering towards darker, angrier, even miserable waters. While this provides a brilliant reflection of the troubled world we’re currently living in, it’s refreshing to find a band setting out on a different, much more joyful path, and Futures certainly fit that bill. The Holiday is their debut album, which they rather generously released for free, and it’s the very essence of summer made into sound. With youthful exuberance bouncing off every hook and melody, the band sail through the seven tracks without the slightest nod towards melancholy and pathos. Combined with the sparkling production, this gives The Holiday something of a superficial air, but not enough to leave the record feeling hollow. In fact, there’s a real sense of character in the music, which sits somewhere in the middle ground between Jimmy Eat World and Feeder. It might not change your life, but it’ll damn sure make you sing along with a smile on your face.
Although simple stuff, there’s an obvious quality to the whole package that Futures offer. Lyrically they stick to the tried and tested boy/girl relationship fodder of pop rock, but it’s nicely put together, only very rarely bordering on cliché. The frothy subject matter is given a real boost by Ant West’s voice, youthful and boisterous as it is, genuinely sounding like it was made to sing this kind of music. There’s even a few big moments where the band make use of group vocals to great effect, like in the opening track, ‘16’, which really soars at one point with the line ‘It’s not where I’ve been, it’s where I’m gonna go.’ And the music is what you would expect, all spiky riffs (like the intro to ‘Sal Paradise’) and brisk, cheerful three-chord tunes, but with just enough complexity and variety thrown in to keep it fresh. Yes, there’s room for improvement; if they’re going to create a real identity of their own they’ll need a little more originality, and a general refinement of melody would go a long way. But the diamond is already cut, it’s just one spit and polish away from something really special. Judging by this start, it’ll be a surprise if they don’t get there.