The Futureheads drew a lot of flak for their 2006 CD News and Tributes. Critics and fans cut their teeth thinking of new ways to say how the band abandoned the post-punk power and promise of their 2004 debut. In fact, News contained some excellent punk-pop. The song “Fall Out” in particular is one of the best Brit songs of the last few years.
But internal dysfunction plagued the Sunderland band following the release, so they formed a record label and got back in the studio with a yearning to recapture the spirit of four years ago. They went a little further back than that. If The Futureheads were from LA and this was 1981, This is Not the World might have come out on IRS records. There’s a rough-edge balanced with grabby poppy choruses and borderline danceable beats. The attempt to regain what was lost is balanced with an attempt to keep things moving.
The problem is it doesn’t move far enough. The songs are not bad, but few are really stand out tracks. Things get underway with a soaring and searing driving intro, on “The Beginning of the Twist.” Lead singer Barry Hynde belts out the lyrics with authority. This first song should have been enough to drown out the naysayers who unfairly tarnished the band’s image after News. “Think Tonight” is a finely crafted post-punk-pop number with one of those great toss-off one line lyrics, “Let’s take stock of the shock.”
The second single, “Radio Heart,” is a yearning opus of love along the dial. The lyrics fit well with the music ("We’ve never met, but we’ve never been apart/A girl with a radio heart"). Coy, but effective. It’s also one of the few lyrically upbeat songs on the CD. The darker melancholy backdrop to these songs rarely surfaces in the music but some of the lyrics are downright dour: ("She broke your heart yesterday/It tore you apart when she turned the other way") and (Disgusting and dirty/We spoiled ourselves completely).