Album of the Week: Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
So then, another Future of the Left album, another slab of abrasive guitars mixed with cutting humour?
The merest glance at the track listing (Sheena is a T-shirt Salesman; Failed Olympic Bid) is a clear indication that Andy Falkous is out to assault our funny bones as well as our ears.
And it takes about a split second of Sheena… to demonstrate that our ears are truly in for a bashing. It’s two minutes of distorted noise masking the fact that there’s a really catchy chorus lurking under the riffs.
Falkous has been doing this for years. This is the third Future of the Left album and while they still haven’t hit the levels of critical appeal that’s been foisted on McLusky before they folded (pity no one cared at the time, eh?), it was this kind of combination of melody and noise that keeps bringing people – the Tidal Wave of Indifference included – back to the bouncy psychosis of McLusky Does Dallas.
Has Future of the Left’s time come? Well they they’re doing it without original bassist Gelson Mathias who quit after Travels With Myself and Another. His place is taken by Julia Ruzicka (ex-Million Dead) with a fourth member, Jimmy Watkins also adding a second guitar.
You genuinely won’t notice much difference in sound. Falkous always played loud enough for three guitars anyway, but Ruzicka has also brought some synths to the mix which add a welcome splash of sonic colour to tunes like Cosmo’s Ladder which also boasts the rather splendid line I’ve seen into the future / Everyone is slightly older.
That’s the kind of silliness we’re dealing with here. There are some serious themes but the message is lost in amongst the funny.
Let’s look at Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop. Pirates of the Caribbean 47 / Johnny Depp stars as the robot pirate who lost his wife in a game of poker and has to win her back with hilarious consequences / At least Harry Potter has a proper story / In the sense that the characters crave an ending / If only to release poor Billy Corgan from his role as the titular characters nemesis. The whole song is a hysterical rant against film sequels, howled over some nasty, muddy guitar sounds.
We’re going to pick out Goals In Slow Motion as a track to adore though. Yes it does seem to be about football, albeit a rather sardonic take, it actually sounds as if it could soundtrack a goals montage on Match of the Day – it’s the right speed, in the right key and has a big soaring chorus. Pity about the big distorted bass rumble that would have Adrian Chiles choke on his own smugness.
To be honest The Plot Against Common Sense probably won’t take Future of the Left to a wider audience despite the critical acclaim it’s getting (9/10 in NME and a Skinny album of the month award to name but two) and the fact that it’s easily their most accomplished album so far. They can be our little secret, like our witty brother that we’ve broken out of a psychiatric hospital only to realise that he is in fact a dangerous lunatic after all.