4AD/Inertia, 2009

Quick poser time, and please you don’t have to all email us with your reply (although, actually, you can comment below) — Is there really anything more satisfying than hearing an artist finally realise their own vision? Okay, there may be one or two things in life more satisfying, but really it’s undeniably pretty damn good to hear a band eventually create what they have striven to perfect over the last nine years. Since bursting forth as McClusky in 1999, singer/guitarist Andy Falkous and drummer Jack Egglestone have mapped their careers with a series of pointed and nihilist albums. However it was only with McClusky’s demise and the phoenix like rise of Future of the Left along with the arrival of former Jarcrew bassist Kelson Mathias, that they have shown that they are ready to make it to the next level.

Finally laying their previous band to rest Travels with Myself and Another finds FOTL at not only their most vitriolic but also their most focused yet. Having scrapped their touring schedule at the end of 2008 to concentrate on recording, some were left feeling a little short changed from a band that had built up such a rabid following. Any of these lingering thoughts or criticisms though have been thoroughly dismissed with this release.

Where previously both McClusky and FOTL records always felt like they were lacking just that little indescribable something more, Travels… finds the listener having no such wanting. The extra effort and time spent on recording the album has clearly been worthwhile. You can imagine the boys, knowing what they had on their hands, not only canceling touring but switching off their phones, kicking out their girlfriends and stop feeding the cat until they could finish recording.

Opener “Arming Eritrea” kicks off with the impassioned plea “Come on Rick, I’m not a drunk… I’m an adult”. Machine gun drums and distorted guitars are the name of the game here, it’s a punishing start and a call to arms. “The Hope that House Built” is pointedly anthemic but the fuzz effects of “You Need Satan More Than He Needs You” shows just how far FOTL have come. It’s angular but underpinned by an almost pop sensibility that shows, in amongst the anger, they really know how to write a tune. In a parallel world the keyboard heavy “Yin/Post Yin” could easily be their breakthrough hit, although that’s clearly not the point here. The boys prove this with “Drink Nike” the anti-globalisation sentiments clear that they’ll not be selling out for endorsements any time soon.

In the midst 2009’s myriad acoustic folk revivalists Future of the Left are a refreshing atomic blast of post hardcore. Filled with smart ass black humour they excite quite like nothing else released so far this year and they’ll blow to smithereens any cobwebs you’ve accumulated listening to anything else.