This decade seems inundated with one-hit wonders pumped up and then dumped by fair weather bloggers and music fans. With their 2004 self-titled debut, a memorable set of angular post-punk reminiscent of early XTC and Wire, the Futureheads seemed like another pleasurable flavor-of-the-moment band from across the pond. But the Sunderland quartet has since worked hard to avoid becoming a statistic.
On 2006’s News and Tributes, the Futureheads slowed down to deliver a respectable if less-incendiary collection of power-pop tunes, emphasizing the melodies over the stop-start rhythms. Perhaps chastened by a muted reception to that album, though, the band has started rocking out again. This is Not the World isn’t as jittery as the band’s early material, but it is just as fast. Songs such as “The Beginning of the Twist” and “Radio Heart” rush by with swift, punkish energy; the album sprints to a finish in less than 40 minutes.
Lead singer Ross Millard is a steady presence amidst the group's ongoing identity crisis. His distinct, hiccupping vocals brand any Futureheads experiment, and he devises memorable hooks such as “You will never find anyone to come along and take you by surprise/ Because you’ve had too much to think tonight.” “Think Tonight” is only one of several strong numbers on This is Not the World. In fact, it’s easy to imagine the Futureheads as just a classic tune or two away from breakthrough status. The only thing holding the group back is its own restlessness.