Futsu – Body Island (Self released)
Indie Rock quartet, Futsu, release their debut album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
According to Wikipedia, Futsu is a Japanese squash, a blend of Japanese sake or a town in the Minamitakaki district of Japan until 2006. The group emanate from Australia via Japan and the UK, they are based in Paris. That’s quite a continental mix.
The Japanese angle is occasionally represented in the songs that Futsu have brought together to give us Body Island. Opener Body Island Body Shapes has a few Eastern influences and combines with madcap music, highly infectious melody and an overall sound not dissimilar from that of the B52s. They’re a little bit bonkers, this is good.
The world needs a bit of off-the-wall attitude, and the band led by singer/songwriter Mike Marques certainly provides that. Current single Mechanical Bride is wonderfully loud punk-pop with a decidedly 80s twist, and whilst other groups try (and fail) to capture the essence of that decade, Futsu seem to ‘get it’ with ease.
Over just 37 minutes they manage to breeze through ten tracks, some better than others, with hints of surf and funk thrown in for good measure. Descending Circles sounds like it could have been one of Duran Duran’s bigger hits from their heyday. It’s a powerful and well-constructed song, it may even have a guitar solo which is given the vocoder treatment. Seriously inventive, seriously imaginative.
Occasionally the band veer into MOR rock which isn’t a particularly good move as the Bon Jovi’s of this world are almost emulated in a slightly directionless rock ballad. What Futsu are good at is building songs, lifting them to compelling proportions and constructing good ear-worm choruses. Gift Horse is such a beast. Slowly rising until it just won’t leave your head.
Body Island isn’t a classic, but it’s a mighty fine listen. If the band keep on these tracks then you’ll hear much more from them in the future. As Bombay Royale have a slightly whacky appearance and representation, so too do Futsu. Above all else it’s fun and harmless and well worth your cursory attention.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.