Release Date: Jun 23, 2009
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Punk
It’s all about control for Andy Falkous. Rage is the driving force behind his music, and as leader of Future Of The Left and mclusky, his voice has spewed bilious words over torrents of fierce lo-fi rock for over a decade. In both of these bands, Falco’s fury has been contained by psychopathically tight instrumentation, masked by caustic wit, and tempered by a tongue planted so deeply in his cheek it’s practically boring through to the other side.
It seems like everyone uses keyboards these days, but not the way that Future of the Left use them.. Matt and Kim use keyboards to form one half of their quick, cute pop songs for teenagers..
If Future of the Left's debut album, Curses, initially sounded like a retread of two-thirds of the band's work as Mclusky, it feels like a dress rehearsal for the power they unleash on Travels with Myself and Another. While there are plenty of songs that uphold the traditions of FOTL's previous incarnation and Curses -- "I Am Civil Service" and "Land of My Formers"' self-aware studies in isolation and violence are still too impassioned, too heavy to be merely acerbic, and Andy Falkous still channels irony and fury through his clipped vocals and raspy screams -- the band's jagged din sounds fuller and more muscular (if a shade less frenetic) than before. They spend just as much time expanding their music as they do underscoring its strengths: "The Hope That House Built" puts their fondness for slogans for lost causes and failed ideals to a bracing oompah beat and a layered coda; "Yin/Post-Yin"'s keyboard stabs and bouncy guitar reveal a more overtly playful side to Future of the Left than Mclusky ever showed.
[I]DOWNLOAD: 1) ‘Arming Eritrea’ 2) ‘I Am Civil Service’ 3) ‘Chin Music’ [/I].
I'd like to humbly ask my peers to stop using "ex-Mclusky" tag with these guys, because with Travels With Myself and Another, they're done fucking around. Every seemingly strange left turn from their debut, Curses, is stranger, carried further, and more focused and much catchier here. The band still starts and stops on a dime, the vocals are still layered and ambitious even when seething, the song titles still raise a challenging bar for the music to live up to ("Yin/Post -Yin", "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You"), and the low-end on the guitars still sound like angry bears.
Merely the existence of Future of the Left is cause for celebration. The dissolution of Mclusky, one of the great young rock bands going back in 2004, wasn’t only a big hit to the music world, but seemed like a crushing blow to the players. To read the liner notes in Mcluskyism, the band’s posthumous greatest hits/rarities collection, is to feel singer Andy Falkous’s bitterness in the wake of the break-up.