Review: Future/Perfect – Escape

Full disclosure, Future Perfect are one of a small handful of bands this blog has taken it upon itself to champion. That said, when anticipating their second album it was with a healthy dose of “wait and see”.

Second albums are notoriously difficult. They often pale compared to promising debuts and can sometimes signal a paucity of ideas beyond the handful that got them launched. Bands typically either retread the same ground as the debut, hoping to recapture the lightning in the bottle, or they veer in sometimes-offputting directions which can torpedo the goodwill already gained. It’s a pleasure to report that Future Perfect have taken a path that takes a little from column A and a little from column B to great effect.

At the heart of the artistic success (if not raging commercial success) of their debut, <em>Dirty Little Secrets</em> was smart songwriting that showed an absolutely clear understanding of what makes the best synthpop song work. Running on unvarnished melodic purity it was a tremendously strong collection of songs that stood with the best released from across the musical spectrum that year. It was a truly triumphant debut that deserved more eyes and ears than it received, but such is the reality of the music business in 2012, particularly for an independent electronic act.

<em>Escape</em> takes the tools of success from the first album and largely improves on them. It’s moody and more atmospheric than <em>Dirty Little Secrets</em> and the band do truly grow and experiment with their formula. The songwriting is still whip smart but this is an album that trades on the darkness both lyrically and in their sound. Moreover, eschewing the  traditional “girl singer/boy keyboard player and songwriter lineup, this band refreshingly update the equation with Simon Owen stepping out and taking the mic on tracks like “War of Words”, lead single “Paradise” and the title track and Rebecca Morgan playing an active role ion writing the musical blueprint for the songs. The new mix-n-match approach works to liberate the band and their sound is even richer and deeper than before.

We were nervous it wouldn’t live up to the debut truth be told, but this is electronic pop music exactly as it should be done. There are too many strong individual tracks to isolate and shine a light on; suffice it to say as a whole it’s one of the strongest electronic releases of the year. In a calendar year that has seen a dearth of truly impressive movement-shifting albums within our genre this is a nice shot in the arm. Would that it receive the support it, and they deserve…

Watch: Paradise


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