A Malcolm Tucker understudy of the highest order, for years Andrew ‘Falco’ Falkous, front face and voice of unhinged Cardiff rock band Future Of The Left, has been abstrusely heckling human idiocy via the medium of catchy melodies and killer hooks. Well, I think; he has, as often as not, seemed to revel in the poetic joy of lyrical near-nonsense, and is known and loved for this obscurantism.
So it might surprise some fans to discover that The Plot Against Common Sense, the band’s third album, seems somewhat less hieroglyphic than previous efforts. There are songs, plural, that appear to be about things! But let’s not get too carried away. After all, it may sound like the music industry, the Olympics, trust-fund rioters, middling middle-class obsessions, golden calves, environmental waste and Hollywood’s reanimator treadmill all get nailed to the wall in (generally) three-minute bursts of schizophrenic noise, but it could all be about the mathematical base code of the universe. Or Kampuchean architecture. It’s best not to assume.
That’s the thing about FOTL. Even when you think you know what Falco’s on about, you’re probably wrong – likewise, if you think you know where they’re going musically. From ear-grating sonic steel wool to sing-along choruses sung in rounds, from marching-band refrains to disorienting balls of raucous noise, from B-52s-ish rockabilly breakdowns to assurgent crescendos of texture, the dynamic tonal shifts on The Plot Against Common Sense are more frequent than ever.
This may be due to a pre-album lineup change that saw second guitarist Jimmy Watkins and new bassist Julia Ruzicka joining Falco and drummer Jack Egglestone. A second upshot of this change is that it’s freed Falco to further embrace that synthesiser: it’s everywhere, abrasive, bilious, hilarious, but – like everything else they do – always cognisant of the need for a hummable melody that will leave earworms in your brain for days.
BY MELANIE SHERIDAN
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In A Word: Loud