I think of Future of the Left as the musical equivalent of the comedian Stephen Wright – they say hilarious, and often insane things, but in a completely deadpan way. Their odd mix of punk/metal music with satirical, and blackly comic lyrics is unlike anything else being made right now, and every time I listen to them I hear something else that makes me chuckle. Consider this verse from “Lapsed Catholics”:
Whose prison break is the most impressive?
I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go Tim Robbins in Jacob’s Ladder.
Such patience, such verve and poise,
But wait a minute, shit, that’s the wrong film.
Morgan Freeman would roll in his grave… if he were dead,
Which he nearly was, if you believe the hysterical gung-ho Technicolor crapfest
That is Sky News, or Murdoch live, or whatever the hell the devil calls himself.
Where else are you going to find that spoken in menacing tones over slowly intertwining acoustic guitars that eventually snap into momentary explosions of overdriven noise? I never reviewed FotL’s first album, Curses, because I started this blog after it came out, and I never reviewed their second, Travels With Myself and Another, because… well, I’m just lazy and stupid. So consider this a review of the band’s output as a whole.
If you crave something heavier than the norm, whilst retaining a sense of irony and self-reflexivity that only bands like Art Brut can truly pull off, look no further. This is a band that can switch between singing (or screaming) about Satan (‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’), dinosaurs (‘Yin/Post-Yin’), train vandalism (‘Throwing Brick At Trains’) and sausage on a stick (‘Wrigley Scott’) without a moment’s notice. And whilst all this goes on, their musical style varies just as much – old single ‘Manchasm’ sounds like an evil B-52s whilst ‘The Hope That House Built’ could be an apocalyptic war march. They’re an absolute marvel of a band, and I can’t recommend both albums enough. Oh, and did I mention that they’re absolutely incredible live?