Future of the Left - Curses (Cover Artwork)

Future of the Left

Curses (2007)

Too Pure

After all the hell they raised during their noisy, spitting, sarcastic, and, above all else, dangerously-rocking tenure, Mclusky sort of went out like chumps. No plane crash, no prison sentences, not even any gossip-worthy band squabbles. They just snuck out the back door while no one was looking. Still, death is not always the end, and the brash young lads of Mclusky (or at least 2/3 of the Welsh trio) are making sure that their resurrection, in the form of new band Future of the Left, is a much more raucous affair.

Let's get all the similarities out right now. Andy Falkous is still handling guitar and vocal duties so you get choppy, screeching, and sometimes cartoony riffing mixed with guy-who-talks-to-himself-outside-the-liquor-store shouts. The songs are also still shaking, pounding, chaos-taunting rockers that are often anchored by fuzzy bass. And the lyrics, well let's just say song titles like "Wrigley Scott," "Fuck the Countryside Alliance" and "Real Mean Hunt in Packs" should show that the aggressive humor and "fuck you" anthems are still present and accounted for on Curses. So what's different? Well, I'm so glad you asked.

Opener "The Lord Hates a Coward" could pass as a Mclusky B-side during its opening moments, but soon the first major difference presents itself when some (gasp) harmonizing kicks in giving a slinking, filthy stomper some melodic sheen. Other songs like "Suddenly It's a Folk Song" and "My Gymnastic Past" also surprise the ears with choruses and melodies that beg for sing-alongs, even if they are drunken pub sessions. If this sounds surprising, I think it's time I reveal Falkous's other new songwriting tool: keyboards.

Don't worry, Future of the Left aren't indulging any sort of hipster, retro pretensions or experimental fetishes. These keyboard parts sound like everything else on this album: a little spazzy, a little catchy, and all around appropriate. "Manchasm" opens with a budget-circus staccato key line that sounds like it is being pounded out with heavy, sweaty hands while "Team: Seed" features a sci-fi synth snarl on its chorus that adds to the cacophonous nature of the moment.

While Mclusky may have never produced anything like poppy piano closer "The Contrarion," everything here seems like a logical extension of Falkous's songwriting. So, if you were expecting this guy to ever calm the fuck down, I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed. No other band combined raw, stumbling rock songs with punk rock's snarky sarcasm quite like Mclusky did, and now no other band has turned Mclusky's Molotov cocktail style into a more palatable concoction like Future of the Left.