Future Of The Left
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- Buffalo Bar, Islington »
- Future Of The Left »
This counts as late homework; I should've submitted a review about The Future Of The Left's first London gig back in September. My bad. Hangs head.
But in a way, I'm glad I didn't - the last time Andy Falkous (guitars, vocals), Jack Egglestone (drums) and Kelson Louis Tregurtha Mathias (bass) took to a stage, most of the crowd were so happy to see them back playing music that they probably could've gotten away with covering obscure Welsh folk tunes all night. The review wouldn't exactly have been that critical. Secondly, we're in for more songs at the Buffalo Bar, the band's setlist having ballooned to eleven numbers.
Given that the musical nucleus of this band was Falkous and Egglestone - who apparently started rehearsing within three or so weeks of Mclusky's split in January of last year - The Future Of The Left sound like the next logical progression of the dark, harsh, less pop-leaning music that Mclusky were developing on their final album.
Mathias' bass is the engine room for many of the band's songs, sounding by turns chunky, gurgling, coarse and out and out groovy. He creates masses of space for Falkous to slash away at with a large selection of four-stringed guitars; one fantastic stand-out moment is the abrasive bass that stomps its way through the bridge of 'Small Bones', with Falkous belting out what can only be described as the most evil-sounding guitar-line he's come up with thus far. Behind them, Jack Egglestone proceeds to nail jaws to the floor with his visceral attack on the kit; the ferocity with which he pummels the snare and cymbals suggests he may have a personal vendetta against them. While Egglestone was never a slouch to begin with - the apparent ease with which he replaced the talented Matt Harding on drums for Mclusky raised more than a few eyebrows - he really seems to have come into his own here.
Given that the setlist disappears from the stage before I have a chance to snag it, it's hard to pin down standout tracks by name, aside from the opener 'The Lord Hates A Coward', which has been available for streaming on the band's MySpace for months now; that, and the smart, sarcastic barnburner that Falkous thoughtfully dedicated to the Countryside Alliance. But as far as first impressions go, this is top-drawer stuff. While FTL share a lot in common with the short, sharp arrangements Mclusky were fond of, there's too much of a loose groove on many of these numbers to mark them out as a re-tread of them or Jarcrew. The songs burn by in what feels like fifteen minutes, packed with as many ideas as chainsaw guitar riffs.
Laying this stuff down in the studio is the next logical step. Live, FTL serve up a tight, blistering set of pulverising punk-rock wittisims and tear strips off the audience. Is it enough to conquer the world? Depends how smart the world is, really. Watch this space...
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