Listomania – 10 Biggest Musical Turnarounds

From Frank Carter to the Futureheads, everyone’s pulling a musical 180 at the moment. We’ve compiled a top ten of the acts who’ve taken a sharp left turn for the weird.

10The Futureheads, ‘Rant’
Everyone’s favourite Geordies have pulled a fast one and lined up a new Acapella record. That’s right, no instruments. Apart from a tambourine. It’s released on April 2nd, but have a listen to the ‘Rant’ version of ‘Robot’ here.

9Neil Young, ‘Trans’

Probably the most catalogued mistake in music, Neil Young’s ‘Trans’ was a disaster. After his 70’s heyday, Young tried to get with the times and made a record that was about as current as a beige cardigan. Just check out ‘Transformer Man’ with lyrics like ‘remote control, direct the action with the push of a button’.

8MGMT, ‘Congratulations’
Indie golden boys MGMT threw it all away on their second album. Tired of playing ‘Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’, they instead channeled cult hero Dan Treacy of Television Personalities and Brian Eno. Eno was reportedly flattered. At least he was happy.

7Metallica and Lou Reed, ‘Lulu’

Spoken word from Reed, backing vocals from Hetfield, instrumentals from the rest of Metallica- all focused around an adaptation of two plays by German playwright Frank Wedekind.; Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.


6Guns N’ Roses, ‘The Spaghetti Incident?’
Guns N’ Roses do straight-up covers of punk rock classics. The question mark in the title says it all.

5Frank Carter, ‘Pure Love’

The former Gallows frontman has left shouting for singing, with new group Pure Love. Speaking to NME this week, he mentioned the reasons behind his turnaround. “I did want something very different for our next record than them, and we just couldn’t really gel on what to do going forward.’

4Cerys Matthews, ‘Cockahoop’
In 2003, two years after Catatonia split nobody knew what to expect from lead singer Cerys Matthews’ solo project. Catatonia had traded on Welsh-influence Brit-pop- bookended by Matthews’ raspy swagger. And then she went to Nashville and made ‘Cockahoop’. An album of traditional folk songs, with help from the Handsome Family, it was as far away from the Met Bar as could be.

3Skrillex, ‘My Name is Skrillex’

Before Skrillex, there was Sonny Moore. And Sonny was the lead singer of hardcore group ‘From First to Last’ (who are currently on hiatus). While Moore was producting in the background, it wasn’t until 2010 that he released his debut EP – which had less screaming, and more bass dropping.

2Doves, ‘Lost Souls’

While Doves haven’t strayed far from their path during their four albums together, their current sound is a far shout from their earlier incarnation as dance-group Sub Sub. You probably remember their single- ‘Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)’. There’s no jaunty reason why Sub Sub ceased, unfortunately. The group’s studio burnt down and they had to start afresh.

1Ulver, ‘Kveldssanger’

This final entry will make all the others pale in comparison. Norweigian black metal group Ulver (it means ‘wolves’ in Norweigian) went from black metal to classical. The 1996 album in question was the second in their ‘Black Metal Trilogie’- inspired by Baroque poets and folktales- and featured chamber choirs, classical guitars and strings. On the third, they went back to Black metal again. Over the following years, they continued to change genre, from instrumental experimental, to glitch, to rock again. Most recent album ‘Wars Of The Roses’ is classed as ‘dark ambient’.