The Futureheads have fallen asleep and who knows if they will ever wake up again. Barry Hyde was the front man of that group, well, of sorts, given all four men shared singing duties in a band that certainly echoed the harmonic sentiments of The Beach Boys at times in the past. It feels like a loss that such a strangely unique modern British band has fallen dormant, until the arrival of this short, sharp kick up the arse of a debut solo record from Hyde, complete with his bi-polar story that shines the spotlight upon musicians and their mental madness.
This is a ‘bipolar’ album, in fact, and there is no getting away that it perfectly encapsulates the sense of being at two ends of a spectrum, speeding from one point to the other, often at breakneck speed. It rushes between utterly spellbinding beauty and total piano and vocal madness, within the same song on more than a few occasions. It’s Jekyll and Hyde, it’s paradise and hell, it’s completely impossible to look away for its short 30-minute length. You can’t keep listening, but you can’t switch it off. The beauty keeps you close, but it’s hard to take.
‘Malody’ is a made up word, a combination of ‘melody and ‘malady.’ It’s simple, but in that merging of two short words Hyde has found his location, his voice, his antidote. It feels like an honest, heartfelt and crucial album, for Hyde to both make and share with the world. To convey such a struggle openly and move on from, and you can’t help but think it’s not only the perfect catharsis for its creator, but that anyone suffering from the same condition will truly welcome such a telling of this story. It’s an essential debut and a startling chapter for both fans of The Futureheads and Hyde everywhere.