C'mon, Rick / I'm not a prize / I'm not a cynical, one of those guys."First listen:
Travels with Myself and Another starts off as expected. Future of the Left still employs bass-heavy rhythms and Andy Falkous is still addressing people whom the listener is not familiar with. In the case of "Arming Eritrea," that person is Rick. The song doesn't have anything spectacular going for it, that is, until the triumphant melody halfway through the song starts. The second track, "Chin Music," starts off similarly to "Team Seed," off of the band's excellent debut album, Curses. The album as a whole seems to lack the eclectic nature of Curses, however. While their sound has evolved, they have lost their variety. "The Hope the House Built" seems like the only song that would fit in with those on Curses.
Slight / bowel movements / preceded / the bloodless coup"Second listen:
"Throwing Bricks at Trains" is strikingly similar to the title "Throwing Bricks from Trains." The latter appears on Mclusky's early, bootleg acoustic session. Whether former Mclusky members Falkous and Jack Egglestone were paying tribute to their last band is unclear. The song is not the same or even similar. "Throwing Bricks at Trains" sounds almost computerized, with its utilization of keyboards and almost robotically-delivered backing vocals. It seems almost odd and I am not sure if I like the song. The album as a whole is a lot cleaner, much different than Mclusky's material. Gone are the left-in guitar fuck-ups in songs like "There Ain't No Fool in Ferguson," or just the general charm of sloppy rhythms. Hell, the first 30 seconds of "Land of My Formers" sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Power Rangers fight scene. However, the song is probably my favorite on the album. For me, Mclusky casts a large shadow and, unfortunately, I don't think Travels is the album to get Future of the Left out of that shadow.
Not much of a tragedy / They only get under your skin if you let them"Third/fourth listen:
At first, I didn't like the lyrics to this album, but they've grown on me. There is something deeper to the humorous lyrics of "You Need Satan More Than He Needs You." I take it as a song about the responsibilities of growing up. It points out that when you grow up, it may be time to stop going to so many satanic orgies. However, a song like "Yin / Post-Yin," with its surreal lyrics, may take a little while longer to figure out. At first, "Throwing Bricks at Trains" made me almost uncomfortable. I think it's because I don't listen to any other bands that could pull something like that off, or even attempt to. I feel it becoming one of my favorite tracks on the album.
What kind of orgy leaves a sense of deeper love?"Fifth listen:
I listened to Curses again today. The album, as a whole, feels kind of bare-bones and underdeveloped after listening to Travels. While I loved and listened to Curses so much that I pretty much burned the disc a new center hole, I'm starting to like Travels a lot more. The variety of the album has started to become more apparent. The garage-type rocking that is used on "Stand by Your Manatee" and the new wave exterior on "Yin / Post-Yin" come to the forefront. Despite being different in style, they still fit comfortably well with each other back to back. I am enjoying how the bass has a more integral part in the songs, instead of just laying it on thick. The basslines have shown definite improvement on this album.
There are words you could use to describe it / Metaphors you should have applied / He'll die in his bed on a summer's night / With his hand on his adequate pride."Sixth listen:
The closer, "Lapsed Catholics" begins on an odd note. With its pleasant acoustic guitar playing, the song begins with vocalist Andy Falkous being echoed by a bandmate during a monologue. In under a minute, the topic of conversation effortlessly shifts from a mistaken Tim Robbins movie to the devil (a theme throughout the album); "Bending wills and souls with glee / Hurrying kids to their graves in the sea." All the while, the acoustic guitar takes on a more beautiful and immediate tone. By now, I've stopped trying to anticipate when the bass, drums and keyboards kick in. I am trying to retain the surprise, as the vocals glaze over me as Falkous croons "I'm on a mercy mission / to prove to my new love / that she is my nothing / that she is my no one." The song is an excellent closer and it has easily overtaken "Real Men Hunt in Packs" as my favorite Future of the Left song. At the end of the song, when Falkous solemnly states that "Lapsed Catholics are the worst / It's part of who they were / And who they'll be again," all I want to do is restart the record and hear him pleading with Rick again.
The white man claims that he's in love / Does anybody doubt his words?"