Franz Ferdinand broke out large last year with a muddy throwback sound, but the Futureheads, who opened for that band on their U.S. tour, may drown out their hosts with their own beautiful noise. Bursting out of Sunderland, England, this quartet call themselves punk, but it's really punk's blissed-out little brother new wave, which didn't want to burn down the world so much as pogo-stick around it. This debut disc's herky-jerky beats, fast (but not abrasive) guitars and wacky song titles ("Le Garage," "Stupid and Shallow") slam into each other to spark a get-up-and-dance delight reminiscent of British bands like the Jam and XTC as well our own Devo. The "Whip It" guys would have been proud to come up with intentionally dumb lyrics like "I am a robot, living like a robot, talk like a robot" in "Robot," which like much of the album sounds like 1981's vision of the 21st century. What really makes this one of the coolest recent debuts, though, is the group's fantastic knack for harmonizing: Many songs are so musically pretty that you could strip away the thrashing guitars and sing them a cappella. For those who worry that Brit rock is sinking into a morass of attempted profundity with sticky emotional (Coldplay) and political (Radiohead) overtones, the time has come to go surfing on the wave of the Futureheads.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Decent Days and Nights"