Album Review: The Amazons – Future Dust
You’ve probably heard of second album syndrome. After pouring all their formative energies and sometimes entire years of dreaming, writing and striving into a thrilling debut album, the band then falls flat on the follow-up. Well, The Amazons appear to have this whole concept backwards. Like most second albums, Future Dust was made in a much more condensed period of time than its self-titled 2017 predecessor. Rather than sounding rushed, watered down or lacklustre, however, this sounds so much bigger and more energised than what’s come before. If there was any pressure this time out, it appears only to have focused the band.
The first thing you think as Mother tumbles from the speakers is, “Dudes, have you been working out?” There’s a slow-burning build to start, but then the huge stomping riff kicks in, levelling everything in its path. The Amazons were hotly tipped two years ago, but their debut didn’t really knock the world off its axis. It did break the Top 10, which is no mean achievement for a new band, but musically it was a little too measured, a little too moderate. This time they’ve turned things up to 11 and it makes all the difference.
This opening track actually served as a reintroduction to the band some weeks ago, and it was a wise strategy. Not every song here follows the same format, but this is an album built largely on big, winding grooves. The nearest modern reference point would be Royal Blood and their fuzzed-out swagger, but The Amazons claim to have looked for inspiration considerably further back than half a decade ago, when that Brighton duo rudely gatecrashed the mainstream. They cite a journey that took them through Led Zeppelin to blues legend Howlin’ Wolf but, sonically speaking, it’s a thoroughly modern interpretation they serve up here.
There are songs on Future Dust that are largely content to ride their groove-laden riffs, but there are also plenty of embellishments, from the falsetto backing vocals to sleek rhythms that shimmy and twist like a slightly less slippery Queens Of The Stone Age. Matt Thomson’s crystalline vocals are a high point, and are put to particularly good use on the more melodic moments. Dark Visions is the finest of these, not least because of the juxtaposition between the dark lyrics and the shiny pop hooks. Elsewhere, the rampant 25 comes complete with an acoustic reprise, while Georgia breaks out the classic rock solos like a mini-Freebird.
This is smart, sexy and it rocks like a wild thing. When the Future Dust settles, The Amazons might just stand as a band worth all the hype and more.