FUTURE THEORY – Single Review: “Hang Your Hat”

I’ve featured hundreds of bands on this blog since I began writing reviews in early 2016, and have to say that some of the best hail from the United Kingdom. And among all those great British bands, one that impressed me from the start is alternative psychedelic group Future Theory. Blending elements of alternative and progressive rock, psychedelia, grunge, shoegaze and funk, they write especially compelling songs characterized by lavish, complex instrumentation, intelligent lyrics and mesmerizing vocals. Like many bands, the Lincolnshire-based foursome has undergone some lineup changes over time, and now consists of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Jacob Brookes on bass and Tom Paton on drums, although for the recording of their latest single “Hang Your Hat“, former band members Rex Helley played bass and Rohan Parrett played drums.

I first wrote about them in April 2017 when I reviewed their fantastic 2016 debut EP Fool’s Dream, then twice in 2018 when I reviewed their excellent singles “Fractured Nation” and “Peace of Mind”. (You can read those reviews by clicking on the links under ‘Related’ at the end of this post.) Now the Lincolnshire-based foursome are back with “Hang Your Hat”, their first new single in more than three years. The lead single from their forthcoming self-titled debut album, the song is a biting kiss-off to a romantic partner who’s been unfaithful, and broken the bonds of trust in the relationship. The track was recorded at 2fly Studios by Alan Smith (Arctic Monkeys, Reverend & The Makers, 65daysofstatic), mixed and produced by Koncide (aka Chris Hengmith), Max and Chris, and mastered by Yves Altana and Chris Ree.

Musically, “Hang Your Hat” is a marvelous feast for the ears, with some of the more dramatic and varied guitar work I’ve heard packed into one song in a long while. The song opens with a fairly intense instrumental flourish like you’d normally hear in a bridge or chorus, with a barrage of fuzz-coated psychedelic guitars and lots of crashing cymbals. At around 25 seconds, the music calms to a languid bass-driven groove, accompanied by strummed guitar and light drums as Max begins to sing in his distinctive sultry croon. Those gnarly guitars and aggressive rhythms ramp back up in the chorus, then transition back and forth in another verse and chorus, punctuated with beautiful chiming guitar notes and highlighted by a killer reverb-soaked guitar solo in the bridge.

I love Max’s vocal style that’s equal parts sensuous and raw, and enhanced by echo and reverb that render them particularly effective here in conveying the bitterness and pain expressed in the lyrics: “I don’t want to do this anymore. Where did you go last night? I said I’d lose my mind, where did you go last night? Got to be, where did you hang you’re hat? You’re gonna need that some day, pick it up wrap it up, just for today.” In the calmer moments, he almost sounds a bit like Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, not a bad thing at all.

With “Hang Your Hat”, Future Theory return in fine form, proving they haven’t lost their stride one bit during their hiatus. It’s a very strong track, and I’m confident we’ll be hearing more gems from them in their forthcoming album.

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  SpotifyApple Music / Soundcloud /  YouTube
Purchase on:  iTunes /  Bandcamp

FUTURE THEORY – Single Review: “Peace of Mind”

Piece of Mind

I’ve featured quite a few artists and bands from the UK on this blog, and one of my favorites is the astonishingly talented Future Theory. The Lincolnshire-based foursome consists of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Rex Helley on bass, and Rohan Parrett on drums. Drawing inspiration from Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, Coldplay and The Verve – and how can you possibly go wrong with inspiration from those legendary bands? – they’ve developed a lavish sound built on elements of alternative and progressive rock, shoegaze, psychedelia and funk. I’m not exaggerating when I use the word ‘astonishing’ to describe them, as their outstanding songwriting and musicianship has a complexity and depth that’s impressive for such a young band. And Max’s amazing vocal style possesses a nuanced emotional intensity that seems mature beyond his years.

Future Theory4

Future Theory released their spectacular debut EP Fool’s Dream in 2016 (which I reviewed), then followed in April of this year with a brilliant single “Fractured Nation,” which I also reviewed. Today they return with a new single “Peace of Mind,” and it’s another stellar track with complex melodies, intelligent lyrics and dazzling instrumentation.

The song kicks off with exuberant jangly guitars, crystalline synths and sharp percussion, all melding together to paint a rich tapestry of sound. Max’s sultry vocals have a raw, vulnerable quality that’s quite pleasing to my ears, though it’s sometimes difficult to understand some of the lyrics he’s singing. The instrumentals build to a turbulent mix of heavy bass, piercing guitars and crashing cymbals in the bridge, then break down to clear jangly riffs that seem to sparkle like glitter on the airwaves through to the end of the track. It’s a dark and beautiful song.

The lyrics speak to the struggle of maintaining a loving relationship by reassuring your significant other of your love and devotion in the face of her alcohol addiction: “Forget about your day and your worries now. Go back into the warmth and find your wants in supply. Cause I adore you and all the things you do for me.” But then he’s trying to hold on to his peace of mind while applying some tough love to convince her to quit drinking: “I gotta stay here. Piece of warmth. Peace of mind. Be so warm, be so quiet. Love factor aside, you need a kick in your behind. You try to make her realize the alcohol don’t fix inside.

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  Soundcloud /  Spotify /  Google Play /  YouTube
Purchase on:  iTunes /  Bandcamp

Top 30 Songs for July 8-14, 2018

Two Feet’s gorgeous and sultry “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” is #1 for a second week, and Leon Bridges holds at #2 with his jazzy “Bad Bad News” (after spending three weeks at #1). The sexy and soulful little sleeper “Unwind” by indie artist John Defeo continues to climb, landing at #7 this week.

Two songs make giant leaps up the chart this week: “Sit Next to Me” by one of my favorite bands Foster the People, which jumps 20 spots to #6, and the beautiful “Such a Simple Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, also jumping 20 spots to #9. “Sit Next to Me” reached #1 on my chart in late December, but has had amazing staying power, spending the past seven months in the top 10 on the Billboard Alternative Chart. This is the song’s 39th non-consecutive week on my Top 30.

1. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (1)
2. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (2)
3. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (4)
4. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (3)
5. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (8)
6. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (26) 39th week on list
7. UNWIND – John Defeo (10)
8. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (5)
9. SUCH A SIMPLE THING – Ray LaMontagne (29)
10. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (12)
11. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (6)
12. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, The Unlikely Candidates (7)
13. BROKEN – lovelytheband (11) 21st week on list
14. COLORS – Beck (16)
15. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (17)
16. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (15)
17. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (19)
18. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (20)
19. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (13)
20. &RUN – Sir Sly (14) 21st week on list
21. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr (24)
22. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (21)
23. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (9)
24. KAMIKAZE – WALK THE MOON (25)
25. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (18)
26. BLOOM – Troye Sivan (28)
27. GIVE YOURSELF A TRY – The 1975 (30)
28. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (22)
29. DEVIL – Shinedown (23)
30. GOLD RUSH – Death Cab for Cutie (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 1-7, 2018

 

1. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (2)
2. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (1)
3. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (4)
4. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (8)
5. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (3)
6. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (5)
7. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, The Unlikely Candidates (7)
8. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (12)
9. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (6)
10. UNWIND – John Defeo (14)
11. BROKEN – lovelytheband (11)
12. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (15)
13. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (9)
14. &RUN – Sir Sly (10)
15. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (13)
16. COLORS – Beck (16)
17. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (19)
18. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (17)
19. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (21)
20. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (23)
21. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (22)
22. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (24)
23. DEVIL – Shinedown (18)
24. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr (27)
25. KAMIKAZE – WALK THE MOON (28)
26. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (25) 38th week on list
27. SILVER LINING – Mt. Joy (20)
28. BLOOM – Troye Sivan (29)
29. SUCH A SIMPLE THING – Ray LaMontagne (N)
30. GIVE YOURSELF A TRY – The 1975 (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 24-30, 2018

1. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (1)
2. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (2)
3. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (3)
4. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (5)
5. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (6)
6. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (4)
7. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, Unlikely Candidates (9)
8. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (11)
9. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (7)
10. &RUN – Sir Sly (8)
11. BROKEN – lovelytheband (10)
12. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (12)
13. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (14)
14. UNWIND – John Defeo (15)
15. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (17)
16. COLORS – Beck (18)
17. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (13)
18. DEVIL – Shinedown (16)
19. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (20)
20. SILVER LINING – Mt. Joy (19)
21. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (23)
22. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (24)
23. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (25)
24. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (26)
25. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (22) 37th week on list
26. FAVORITE COLOR IS BLUE – Robert DeLong, K.Flay (21)
27. HI HELLO – Johnny Marr (N)
28. KAMIKAZE – WALK THE MOON (29)
29. BLOOM – Troye Sivan (30)
30. DANGEROUS NIGHT – 30 Seconds to Mars (28)

Top 30 Songs for June 17-23, 2018

1. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (1)
2. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (4)
3. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (2)
4. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (3)
5. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (7)
6. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (8)
7. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (5)
8. &RUN – Sir Sly (6)
9. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, Unlikely Candidates (10)
10. BROKEN – lovelytheband (9)
11. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (14)
12. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (13)
13. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (11)
14. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (15)
15. UNWIND – John Defeo (16)
16. DEVIL – Shinedown (12)
17. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (19)
18. COLORS – Beck (18)
19. SILVER LINING – Mt. Joy (20)
20. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (21)
21. FAVORITE COLOR IS BLUE – Robert DeLong, K.Flay (17)
22. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (23)
23. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (24)
24. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (25)
25. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (27)
26. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (28)
27. GUIDE YOU IN THE DARK – RECKLESS JACKS (22)
28. DANGEROUS NIGHT – 30 Seconds to Mars (N)
29. KAMIKAZE – WALK THE MOON (N)
30. BLOOM – Troye Sivan (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 10-16, 2018

1. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (4)
2. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (1)
3. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (2)
4. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (5)
5. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (3)
6. &RUN – Sir Sly (6)
7. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (8)
8. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (9)
9. BROKEN – lovelytheband (7)
10. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, Unlikely Candidates (10)
11. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (11)
12. DEVIL – Shinedown (12)
13. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (13)
14. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (16)
15. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (14)
16. UNWIND – John Defeo (17)
17. FAVORITE COLOR IS BLUE – Robert Delong, K.Flay (18)
18. COLORS – Beck (19)
19. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (23)
20. SILVER LINING – Mt. Joy (21)
21. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (22)
22. GUIDE YOU IN THE DARK – RECKLESS JACKS (15)
23. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (27)
24. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (26)
25. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (27)
26. WITHOUT WALLS – Lyia Meta (20)
27. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (29)
28. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (30)
29. THE JOKE – Brandi Carlile (24)
30. THE NIGHT HAS AN ALIBI – Wons Phreely + the Horses (25)

Top 30 Songs for June 3-9, 2018

1. PINK LEMONADE – James Bay (1) 4th week #1
2. THIS IS AMERICA – Childish Gambino (2)
3. HANDYMAN – AWOLNATION (3)
4. BAD BAD NEWS – Leon Bridges (5)
5. I FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING – Two Feet (7)
6. &RUN – Sir Sly (4)
7. BROKEN – lovelytheband (6)
8. ZOMBIE – Bad Wolves (9)
9. THOUGHT CONTAGION – Muse (10)
10. CELEBRATE – Dirty Heads, Unlikely Candidates (11)
11. WHATEVER IT TAKES – Imagine Dragons (8)
12. DEVIL – Shinedown (15)
13. SAY AMEN (SATURDAY NIGHT) – Panic! At the Disco (14)
14. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY – Blue October (16)
15. GUIDE YOU IN THE DARK – RECKLESS JACKS (13)
16. HUNGER – Florence + the Machine (26)
17. UNWIND – John Defeo (19)
18. FAVORITE COLOR IS BLUE – Robert DeLong, K.Flay (20)
19. COLORS – Beck (22)
20. WITHOUT WALLS – Lyia Meta (18)
21. SILVER LINING – Mt. Joy (24)
22. LIFE TO FIX – The Record Company (25)
23. FOUR OUT OF FIVE – Arctic Monkeys (29)
24. THE JOKE – Brandi Carlile (12)
25. THE NIGHT HAS AN ALIBI – Wons Phreely + the Horses (17)
26. RED MOON SKY – Face of Stone (28)
27. SIT NEXT TO ME – Foster the People (RE)
28. QUARTER PAST MIDNIGHT – Bastille (30)
29. 44 – Oli Barton & the Movement (N)
30. FRACTURED NATION – Future Theory (N)

FUTURE THEORY – Single Review: “Fractured Nation”

Fractured Nation

I seem to be revisiting a lot of artists and bands lately that I’ve previously featured on this blog, as many of them are releasing new music. One of them is the astonishingly talented UK band Future Theory.  The Lincolnshire-based foursome consists of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Rex Helley on bass, and Rohan Parrett on drums. Drawing inspiration from bands such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age and The Verve, they’ve developed a lavish sound built on elements of alternative and progressive rock, shoegaze, psychedelia and funk. I’m not exaggerating when I use the word ‘astonishing’ to describe them, as their outstanding music has a complexity and depth that’s impressive for such a young band. And if that weren’t enough, Max’s amazing vocal style exhibits a nuanced emotional intensity that seems mature beyond his years.

future theory

Future Theory released their magnificent debut EP Fool’s Dream in 2016 (which I reviewed), and now follow up with a brilliant new single “Fractured Nation,” which dropped today, the 27th of April. The songs on the EP were all spectacular, setting a very high bar for the band, and “Fractured Nation” not only reaches but leaps over that bar.

The track is fantastic, with exuberant layers of chiming and distorted guitars, sparkling synths and Rohan’s wildly crashing cymbals. Max’s sultry impassioned vocals are captivating as he croons “There’s no syncopation in this fractured nation. It’s like druids spinning around. Zone in zone out. I feel the whole world slipping inside out. Is that what people dream about?” At about the halfway point, our eardrums are greeted by riffs of chiming guitars so stunning they bring chills. The music continues to build to a crescendo, before ultimately dissipating into an extended distorted guitar note lasting fifteen seconds to close out the track. It’s perfection from start to finish, and I’m elated that Future Theory has delivered such a marvelous song for our listening enjoyment. I’m excited to hear what musical delights they come up with next.

Catch Future Theory at one of these upcoming shows:

APR28
Sat 8:30 PM UTC+01 · 392 guests
Grantham, United Kingdom
MAY18
Fri 10:30 PM UTC+01 · by Future Theory
Lincoln, United Kingdom

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  Soundcloud /  Spotify /  Google Play /  YouTube
Purchase on:  iTunes /  Bandcamp

EP Review : FUTURE THEORY – “Fool’s Dream”

To prepare for writing a music review, I start by immersing myself in the artist or band’s music in order to fully understand and evaluate the various elements of the lyrics, instrumentals, vocals and production values. In most cases, I come to more greatly appreciate the music the more I listen. And every now and then, I find myself falling deeper in love with the music each time I hear it. Such is the case with the incredibly talented UK band Future Theory. Last October, 2016, the foursome dropped their debut EP Fool’s Dream, and it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Future Theory is made up of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Rex Helley on bass (although Jake Scarbro was bassist at the time the EP was recorded), and Rohan Parrett on drums. Taking inspiration from such bands as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age and The Verve, the Lincolnshire collective have developed a lavish sound built on elements of alternative rock, shoegaze, psychedelia and funk. Furthermore, their skillful musicianship and intelligent songwriting are all the more striking given their youth (I believe they’re all under the age of 21).

Future Theory

Fool’s Dream starts off with “Eye of the Storm,” a dynamic and beautiful track overflowing with intricate, jangly guitars, sharp percussion and soaring melodies. Sander’s mesmerizing vocals have a sultry vulnerability as he sings the lyrics “Here I stand upon the sands. Stranded here in no mans land. Said I’m through with lies, but now I see.”  The track closes with a scorching guitar solo and a brief flourish of distorted guitar at the very end that conjures up images of a storm that has finally spent itself.

Now is a good time to state flat out that Sander’s sensuous and startlingly mature-sounding vocals are a thing of wonder and, to my mind, a defining element of Future Theory’s sound. It’s astonishing that a man of his young age could vocalize with such nuanced emotional intensity. When combined with the band’s dazzling instrumentals, his captivating vocals result in songs of exceptional caliber.

The title track “Fool’s Dream” is an achingly gorgeous song about realizing that your love interest isn’t quite what you’d hoped, thus shattering your dreams. Sander moans “Why is the glass always half empty when you’re around? Sense of frustration now, stretching my mind. Oh I feel all down.” The swirling guitars and crystalline synths are, well…dreamy.

The guys lay down some terrific psychedelic grooves on “Horses.” Shredded and distorted guitars duel with thumping bass, crashing cymbals and glittery synths, creating tension as Sander seductively croons “See the horses, they’re the only ones who know motive. / Another scene, another slaughter, when enemies hold their line. / Woah oh oh oh horses, why won’t you take me away.” They funk things up on “Listen Closely,” with lots of jangly guitars layered over funky bass and a driving beat. The guitars on this track are so good!

The final track “Horses (Koncide Remix)” is a spellbinding EDM/techno re-imagining of “Horses.” Gone are the layered guitars, and in their place are complex, multi-textured synths that create a dramatic, yet dreamy, soundscape. It’s the perfect ending for a fool’s dream.

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram

Stream their music:  Soundcloud /  Spotify /  Google Play /  YouTube

Purchase on:  iTunes /  Bandcamp