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Future Of The Left
Travels With Myself And Another Jeremy Allen , June 3rd, 2009 11:43

You sense that although Future Of The Left's debut album Curses was given a warm critical reception, the band might have been stung by the somewhat indifference with which it was received by the wider public. Andy Falkous is cantankerous, belligerent, confrontational, too clever for his own good – and certainly not the sort of man to take things lying down.

The ground tremors at the weight of the ideas and the musicality of Travels With Myself And Another, an album that delivers on all the promises vociferated by his old band Mclusky on their excellent Do Dallas offering, now nearly a decade old. While Mclusky's cult status has been enhanced since their demise, Future Of The Left have been greeted somewhat grudgingly in some quarters, and even the inspired appointment of Kelson Mattaus from Jarcrew on bass wouldn't be enough to stymie the disparaging 'Mclusky MK II' remarks. Churlish though they might have been, it appeared FoTL could certainly get their dander up from the off, though were they bringing anything new to the table? That's all academic now, because Travels With Myself And Another is the most staggeringly refreshing post-hardcore album in years, a beautifully weighted fist in the face to their detractors.

Pithy, funny, extravagant, dynamic and diverse, although there's a slight slump towards the end, there's ne'er a totally duff track here - the first seven at least are righteous. This sounds like a band effort, with each member contributing substantially; it's like the Trinity, but more biblical. The trio have toiled to construct an impregnable and impressive call to arms, half an hour in girth and, much like Falco himself these days, it doesn't have an ounce of fat on it.

The metallic opening ascending/descending salvo of 'Arming Eritrea' is so insurmountable it gives goosebumps. Strange influences seem to acknowledge themselves throughout – 'The Hope That House Built' curiously sounds like Peter Gabriel at his most lawnmower-on-the-head mentally ill (ie. awesome), while 'Throwing Tricks At Trains' is reminiscent of the Bloodhound Gang, with the subject matter of boobies and beavers being substituted with a strange tale about two vandals called Reginald J Trottsfield and his upstanding Lieutenant Brown.

In the week that precedes Faith No More's return to Brixton Academy, there are elements of that behemoth rock colossus here too, which is fitting, as Future Of The Left are worthy successors of that noble bloodline. Faith No More inadvertently invented the horrorshow that was nu metal, but in the same way punk was meant to be about questioning everything rather than continuing to flog a dead horse with three chords and a nose ring, Future of the Left strive to be sharper, harder, scarier, wittier, and that will hopefully keep propelling them into new stratospheres. We await word of further wayfaring with feverish expectation.