The Future: Neon Black

The Future
Neon Black
The Future of Music

Neon Black is about as descriptive a title as this album could get. In the debut release from Minneapolis trio the Future, a Stooges-like impulse to go nowhere, forever, competes with an American hardcore-inspired impulse to go everywhere at once. When they aim for Stoogey darkness, fake-blues riffs are simplified to their most machine-like, while single guitar lines with more sting than fuzz hang in gray reverb. But the stop-start structures, knobby drumming, and abstract sense of heaviness owe lots to HC.

They probably won't be happy with the label, but they're kind of goth, too, at least in the monochrome bleakness of the whole affair. Lyrically, your guess is as good as mine, but I doubt singer Anthony Firestorm is trying to shine a ray of hope out of the shadows. On Neon Black, the vocals are occluded and half-buried. Iggy's voice was always up in the mix—he had a very folk-'60s faith in the precision of language; it mattered what he was saying (no, really!). Rock doesn't believe this about itself anymore, and neither do the Future. Even "another year with nothing to do" is too direct a statement these days. Maybe it's not so much goth as zombie: young men must write rock songs, they're compelled to "rock out" and so some expressive gesture has to be made through a microphone, however impossible it feels to make meaning anymore. My favorite Future lyric is the most glossolallian: "WRRAAAAAAAAAAA." (Second favorite: "NOOOOOOOOO.")

But my pop-tuned ears are most in love with their choruses; they don't always write one, but when they do, it's great. "Run Away" has an "I DON'T WANNA I DON'T WANNA" that really doesn't wanna. And on "Resurrect the Dead" they just add "She said let's—" to the title, and presto: instant ineffable teenage garage gloom.