“This is the set-up for the song, mate. It’s an introduction. Don’t fucking interrupt”.
…as Falco attempted to paraphrase the introduction to ‘Robocop 4, Fuck Off Robocop’, one audience member heckled. He retaliated.
A somewhat disconcerting Andrew Falkous still exudes charm when picking on the audience in jest, and his attitude perfectly mirrors the feeling of his music. Future of the Left’s sound has always been a brutal and unsettling listen, but it has it’s dark, humorous subtext from time to time. Lyrically dense, with a sound that bruises and flicks between time signatures and aggressive pauses, it’s an anxious and exhilarating listen in equal measure.
The blisteringly loud ‘Arming Eritrea’ opens their set, which follows on from a blinding performance from USA Nails, London’s answer to Drive Like Jehu. Sometimes, planets align and gods are appeased when lineups match bands as perfectly as this.
New tracks like ‘If AT&T Drank Tea What Would BP Do’ injure and offend like the Jesus Lizard or Shellac. The band’s savage noise is propelled by Julia Ruzicka’s woolen fuzz-tone of deafening bass. It cuts neatly into the drum sound. Jack Egglestone’s playing is boisterous, turbulent; it pilots the band’s noise, hammering in until it stabs you with an almighty sonic force. The power of this rhythm section is nothing but fearful.
Elsewhere in the set, ‘The Limits Of Battleships’ cracks and booms abruptly throughout, with pauses so blunt that they feel like cavities being unshelled bare at brute force.
That humorous subtext is most evident on tracks like ‘Singing Of The Bonesaws’ and ‘How To Spot A Record Company’, which are scattered amongst the set. Perhaps this is the quality that sets Future of the Left apart from others in the alternative rock scene… their extended metaphors, their scornful and ironic references towards popular culture… it all builds towards the identity of the band. Something that excels them even further than Falkous’ previous endeavour, Mclusky, is this deeper and complex meaning that outrides any previous output from the Welsh equivalent of John Reis.
It’s hard to pinpoint what sets this band apart from others, but seeing Future of the Left in concert reminds you that the alternative scene is more than just alive; it’s flourishing, it’s literate, and incredibly pissed off.
Words from Jack Stevens