The Futureheads, who have just finished a successful tour of the UK, are thrilled to confirm a December UK tour that will kick off at the Electric Ballroom, London on the 6th. The tour celebrates 15 years of The Futureheads and will see the band playing their debut album in fullalongside new and old favourites.

The Futureheads release their sixth studio album and their first electric guitar release in almost a decade, ‘Powers’ on 30th August. Recorded and self-produced at Newcastle’s First Avenue Studio, ‘Powers’ is a record that looks “at the balance of power in a personal, political and relational sense” and puts it to some of the most vital, invigorated material the band have made since their first steps.

Lead single ‘Jekyll’ received its first radio play on 1st May from 6Music’s Steve Lamacq and has since been supported by Marc Riley, who has also had them in session this month, and Shaun Keaveny, who made it his single of the week. It has been played by Radio X’s John Kennedy who made it his X-Posure show’s ‘Hot One’, and when Felix White sat in for him, he interviewed the band.

Having first emerged at the start of the ’00s amidst a burgeoning swarm of guitar bands, the Sunderland quartet, with their proud regional accents and spiky, playful sensibilities, stuck out from the off. Over the following decade The Futureheads – comprised of vocalists and guitarists Barry Hyde and Ross Millard, vocalist and bassist David ‘Jaff’ Craig and vocalist and drummer Dave Hyde – amassed five critically-acclaimed albums, headlined countless tours and earned an NME Single of the Year accolade for their iconic cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’.

Returning with ‘Powers’, the band’s aim is one of forward motion not nostalgia; though the quartet could probably rely on the successes of old to push them through the next couple of festival seasons, that isn’t – and hasn’t ever – been the point. “Obviously it’s an absolute privilege to come back and still have fans and that’s something to cherish,” Ross says, “but I also think we’ve got a bit of a job to do about letting people know that there’s more to this band than you might have thought.”

It’s a risky statement, but one that’s confirmed immediately once you press play. Across the album, the band push further, melodically and lyrically, than ever before; there’s no safety net here, but a band putting everything out there and driving it to the wire again. “I love the thing Bowie said about how an artist should be slightly out of their depth because that’s when you get the good stuff,” Barry affirms. “Or as David Lynch says, ‘If you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deep.'”

The frantic rattle of ‘Headcase’ and its emotional flipside ‘Animus’ – one rooted in mania, the other depression – find the singer dredging down to the problems that put a stopper on the band in the first place. “My main thing was about accepting how my mind works and then trying to love that. The danger of mental illness is becoming trapped in something like depression; you can’t stay manic for too long, you end up sectioned or probably dead because you become so uncaring about your own safety,” he explains. “I’m not a victim of my own mind anymore; I take responsibility for my mind and my actions, and those two songs speak to that.” Conversely, the elegiac ‘7 Hours, 4 Minutes’ is a love song to his partner and young daughter that’s more literal and sentimental than anything they’ve ever penned: “We had a home birth, she had a paracetamol and that was it. At midnight her waters broke, and then Nico my daughter came at four minutes past seven. That song’s a little monument to my first born.”

The album’s propulsive, scattershot lead single ‘Jekyll’ comes laden with a self-professed “monstrous riff for monstrous, preposterous times”, but it’s perhaps the stream-of-consciousness, spoken word diatribe of ‘Across the Border’ that lands the biggest hammer-blow in terms of unapologetic, outraged social commentary. “As a band, we were always interested in personal politics and behaviour, but we never spoke about the state of the nation or big picture politics,” Ross begins, “but in the meantime the world’s changed so much and there are things to really kick against. We live in a region that’s somehow or other been tagged as the poster boy for Brexit, and the misinformation and aggression that this referendum has brought out in people has become a really terrifying thing that I haven’t seen in my lifetime. It’s a defining moment in British politics that’s impossible to ignore if you’re making art.”

Elsewhere across the record, the quartet veer from the wonky stomp of ‘Listen Little Man’ – named after a book by controversial therapist Wilhelm Reich – to the hedonistic white flag of ‘Good Night Out’ via countless other, typically atypical topics. Cumulatively, it’s a record that kicks harder and more intensely than you might have ever understandably predicted. “The record we’ve made is a little off kilter and maybe a little more out of step than you might expect from four lads in their 30s. I think it might surprise people,” smiles Ross.

But if you were ever a fan of The Futureheads, or – just as importantly – if you were never a fan of The Futureheads, you should get the same thing from ‘Powers’: a record that sounds invigorated, with something important to say and an idiosyncratic, exciting way of saying it, made by four people here for all the right reasons. “There’s power and sophistication and simplicity, and it’s bloody hard to play, which I think will keep the shows interesting because we’re on the edge of our abilities with this,” grins Barry. “It’s musical audacity: that’s what this album’s about.”

Ahead of their December tour, The Futureheads will play festivals across the UK and Europe. Details below.

TRACKLISTING
1. Jekyll
2. Good Night Out
3. Animus
4. Across The Border
5. Electric Shock
6. Stranger In A New Town
7. Listen, Little Man!
8. Headcase
9. Idle Hands
10. Don’t Look Now
11. 0704
12. Mortals

UK LIVE DATES
29thJune          Corbridge Festival        Northumberland
6thJuly             Electric Fields               Dumfries & Galloway
19thJuly           Tramlines Festival        Sheffield
20thJuly           Latitude                        Suffolk
28thJuly           Truck Festival               Oxfordshire
2ndAug             Neverworld                   Kent
3rdAug             Coombe Weekender     Coventry
25thAug           Victorious Festival         Southsea
29thAug           New Slang                     Kingston
4th  Sept           Bonded Warehouse      Sunderland


DECEMBER UK TOUR
6th Dec                         Electric Ballroom        London
7th Dec                         O2 Institute                  Birmingham
8th Dec                         Beckett University        Leeds
13th Dec                       Northumbria Uni          Newcastle
14th Dec                       QMU                            Glasgow
15th Dec                       O2 Ritz                         Manchester