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Breaking Free of Nostalgia's Tyrannical Grip

The Futureheads may be the least affected recent Brit-pop band, which is saying something.
The Futureheads may be the least affected recent Brit-pop band, which is saying something.

The Futureheads may be the least affected of the recent crop of Brit-pop bands, which is saying something. Brisk and sensible, specializing in strapping dance-punk for which the word "angular" was practically invented, it's the perfect curative for anyone left cold by Arctic Monkeys: Imagine a post-millennial XTC with barbershop-quartet harmonies and lots of shouting, and that's beginning to paint a picture.

Until now, The Futureheads' members have pursued their love of Thatcher-era new wave with touching diligence, resulting in two enjoyable albums populated with few truly memorable moments. But "Skip to the End," the lead single off their new News and Tributes, is a doozy: Not only is it a Futureheads track that won't induce instant longing for another, better song from 1987, but it's also a Futureheads track that's actually about something.

The song, in which a protagonist wishes he could fast-forward from the beginning of a relationship to the end before getting involved ("Skip to the last paragraph / just before we start / to see the happy ending / or the broken heart"), is an ode to both longing and laziness, bolstered by an addictive "na na na na" chorus and The Futureheads' trademark harmonies. It may not be inventive enough to suggest that the band is free of nostalgia's tyrannical grip, but it's a terrific start.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Allison L. Stewart
Allison Stewart is a writer living in New York. It's entirely possible to see her work in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, Rolling Stone or any number of other places. Or to miss it entirely, which is just as likely.