Single Review: The Futureheads – Meet Me Halfway (Black Eye Peas cover)

By on Friday, 9th March 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

At first thought, an a capella version of the Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Meet Me Halfway’ performed by Sunderland’s Futureheads is a disturbing, Frankenstein’s monster-esque proposition; a genre-bending mashup simply crying out to be derided as the wrong song, played in the wrong way, by the wrong band. That it actually works as a piece, with its stark backdrop of layered minor chords, and plaintive yet square-jawed lead vocal, is nothing short of astonishing. Gone is the humdrum synth ‘n’ drumbox arrangement of the original; instead we have four men’s voices and dark space where instruments would otherwise be. Like a black-and-white photograph, the effect is somehow stronger than if the brain was force-fed more information; the imagination can fill in the blanks more vividly than reality.

Releasing a whole album arranged a capella, especially as it contains such a left-field cover version, is a brave, almost reckless decision. But their love of applying novel vocal arrangements to other people’s music has been present and correct ever since their version of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’ announced the band’s spectacular arrival into the public consciousness back in 2005. And it is done with such confidence, technical accuracy, and imagination, that is impossible to not be intrigued, and over time, drawn into the naked beauty on offer here.

7/10

‘Meet Me Halfway’ is a double A-side with ‘The No.1 Song In Heaven’, a 1970s Sparks track close to the hearts of the band. The single is released in conjunction with the forthcoming a capella album ‘Rant’.

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